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