Last edited 14 Oct 2022

Natured based solutions (NbS)

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) defines nature-based solutions as: '...actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits'.

More recently 'Blue Green Solutions' has been used in a similar way to describe design solutions for developments that emphasise and support nature in urban areas such as green roofs, roof gardens, tree pits, swales and urban wetlands, storm water retention and harvesting, urban wetlands and so on. For more information see: Blue green solutions.

Natural England states: 'The most effective NbS for climate change mitigation are often those based on habitat restoration and creation, as land use change from a degraded habitat to a functioning, resilient one offers the greatest potential in capturing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The protection of existing habitats is also vital, as their biodiversity and carbon stocks may have taken centuries to millennia to become established and are quickly lost if disturbed.'

The pressure for housing provision along with has in recent years led to a significant increase of developments being built on areas previously considered as higher flood risk, such as low-lying lands, flood plains and coastal regions. These may also coincide with regions considered significant both from a carbon sequestration perspective as well as recreation and biodiversity.

Considering the location and planning of a scheme is vital, whilst meeting any requirements set out by the local authority. On a wider scale material choices, where impacts are somewhat removed from the site can also be seen as Nature Based Solutions by supporting for instance local crafts and employment.

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