Guiding principle 9: Generating income and attracting investment

The links between green infrastructure and the economy are strong in Devon and it is key that:

  • the contribution that green infrastructure assets make to Devon’s economy be recognised and enhanced
  • in planning and designing new development, the potential for green infrastructure to attract and complement inward and indigenous investment and other economic benefits should be realised

Why this is important for Devon and beyond

Devon’s natural environment is an essential characteristic that attracts visitors and businesses alike and it is one of the counties major ‘selling points’. Tourism is annually worth over £2 billion to the local economy and employs over 30,000 people. The unique natural environment is a major draw for many of these tourists and it is key that these green assets are protected and improved.

It is not only tourists who are attracted to Devon. The landscape setting of many living and working environments also draws businesses seeking a new working environment to the county. Green infrastructure therefore plays a vital role in attracting inward investment and can also improve workforce productivity.

Agriculture and forestry also make a small but important contribution to the county’s economy. There are also opportunities for green infrastructure to provide employment through the provision of material for crafts and products, renewable energy schemes and activity based leisure.

Strategic priorities and approaches for working together across Devon

9.1: Promote a change in culture and attitudes towards the natural environment, emphasising the economic benefits accruing from nature through marketing

9.2: Recognise the economic value of green infrastructure by considering developments, investments etc on a broader set of indicators including environmental, health and wellbeing and social ‘full-life’ outcomes

9.3: Explore the use of incentivisation schemes amongst businesses, visitors and residents to generate revenue to pay for better upkeep of natural assets

  • Find out how you can get involved in the delivery of this guiding principle, whether you are an interested local community group or individual, a landowner or a public authority.

    Local Authorities

    Policy planners: prepare planning policies promoting the use of natural assets to generate income streams – where this does not significantly negatively affect the benefits of these assets such as, for example, biodiversity provision, landscape enhancement or flood relief.

    Landowners, developers and design professionals

    Developers and designers: Recognise the benefits of green infrastructure assets in creating more attractive and therefore profitable developments and design developments to include high quality green infrastructure.

    Ensure green infrastructure is well-funded for ongoing management and maintenance, as these are critical if green infrastructure is to continue to deliver long-term benefits. By thinking creatively about how to generate capital and revenue, multifunctional land can be funded from several sources. These could include direct income from renewable energy, food production or events, or indirect savings by reducing flood risk and cutting the cost of cooling in urban areas during hot weather.

    Communities and individuals

    All: communities can collectively identify and bring forward opportunities to generate income from local green infrastructure assets – where this does not negatively affect these assets.

Tools and case studies to help you

A DEFRA report considers the benefits of green infrastructure’s contribution to economic growth.
The forestry commission has produced a report setting out the benefits of green infrastructure, specifically including information on how green infrastructure supports economic growth and investment.
A report by the Commission for architecture and the built environment sets out how parks and green spaces can be funded and even turn a profit. See page 38.