9: Enhancing our natural environment

Southend is renowned for the quality of its parks and open spaces. This ‘green infrastructure’ provides valuable benefits including opportunities for informal recreation and relaxation, participation in sports, wildlife habitats, improved air quality and tranquillity. Whilst Southend needs to adapt and grow to meet changing circumstances and needs, it will be essential that its natural habitats are protected and enhanced.

Moreover Southend contains a diverse and rich range of areas important for their biodiversity and nature conservation value, including Belfairs/Great Wood and the foreshore. Southend’s blue infrastructure network of rivers and streams, including the Thames Estuary, benefit from extensive nature conservation designations to protect its biodiversity and wildlife significance (specifically SPAs, SACs, RAMSAR and SSSIs). This means that a careful balance needs to be struck between protection of these important environments and the provision of access for local communities and visitors alike.

Increasing pressure for recreational and leisure pursuits on the foreshore will require careful planning to ensure the natural environment is protected. Initiatives are currently being pursued to combat the impact of increasing housing development and consequent recreation pressures through mitigation measures to protect the natural habitat of the coast.

What does this issue cover?

  • Green and Blue Infrastructure; Biodiversity
  • Maintaining the character of the undeveloped coast

What information or evidence do we need for this issue?

  • Southend Local Biodiversity Action Plan
  • State of Nature Report
  • Parks and Green Spaces Strategy 2015-2020
  • South Essex Green Grid Strategy (to be reviewed)
  • Recreational disturbance Avoidance & Mitigation Strategy (to be completed)

See our evidence papers for more information

Related Southend 2050 Outcome

  • We have invested in protecting and nurturing our coastline, which continues to be our much loved and best used asset.

What United Nations Sustainability Development Goals does this Issue contribute to?

If you would like to find out more on this issue we have prepared a Green and Blue Infrastructure and Climate Change Topic Paper

Enhancing our natural environment - Have your say

Please provide comment in support of your choice

How best do we protect and enhance our environment in the face of increasing growth and development pressures?


Work with other stakeholders, funding bodies and developers to identify opportunities to promote and enhance the natural environment, and incorporate net gains for biodiversity in new development?


Seek to enhance the borough’s network of green infrastructure using developer contributions for the management of green and open spaces and introduction of pocket parks?


In liaison with adjoining local authorities seek to provide new country park and open parkland facilities (including from developer contributions) as part of strategic development sites, including where they help mitigate pressure on some of the more sensitive coastal habitats?


Do you have any other issues/comments?