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Arc Leadership sets bold agenda to put environment at heart of every decision

10 March 2021

New Environment Principles set out clear ambition to protect, restore, enhance and create new nature areas and natural capital assets across the Arc region.

This week the Arc Leadership Group has endorsed new environment principles that seek to secure practical ways to increase nature and find innovative solutions to managing natural resources, as we stimulate the green economy and work to achieve net-zero carbon goals.

The Environmental Principles can be downloaded here:
Arc Leadership Group Environment Principles

The UK Government has already set out its intention for the Arc to be the UK’s fastest growing economic region and a world-leader in sustainability. These principles provide a clear statement of regional intent that embodies local commitment to adopting an approach that results in environmentally sustainable economic growth.

Published ahead of work on the Government’s Arc Spatial Framework, which will create a long- term plan to deliver the Arc’s strategic growth and infrastructure needs, the aim for the Environment Principles is for them to inform emerging Arc plans and statements, including local plans, local council activities as well as delivery programs for bodies operating in the Arc.

These principles will form the basis for creating an Ox-Cam-wide Environmental Strategy that embraces everything from green spaces, to housing standards, to sustainable transport, energy generation and transmission and water management and, conservation.

Cllr Bridget Smith, Chair of the Arc’s Environment Group and Leader of South Cambridgeshire District Council said, “If we are to double the economic growth in the Arc then we must, as a minimum, be doubling nature and ensuring that we lead the way in zero carbon living and working.

“I want to say a huge thank you to all of the different groups and individuals who have contributed to these principles and we now look forward to working closely with Government and colleagues locally on taking the next steps. It will include embedding these principles into our planning so we can empower our businesses and residents by giving them better choices.

“If we do this well, we hope that other regions and countries will be looking to the Oxford-Cambridge Arc as the leading place for environmentally sustainable development, just as we look to the Netherlands for best practice in cycling and cycling infrastructure.

The Arc Leadership Group’s Environment Working Group has started work to develop an Environment Strategy. This piece of work will help to set the roadmap and trajectory for delivering the ambitious Arc Environment Principles and the Green Arc. The scope of the strategy is currently being developed in collaboration with a Cranfield University MSc programme, which will map out what the strategy should include, referring to best practice in fast growing regions globally. It is likely that the strategy will take 12-18 months to complete.

The Environment Principles and the Environment Strategy work will be used to inform the Group’s input to the Government’s Arc Spatial Framework, expected to be published in 2022.

Several partners and groups contributed to the drafting, including:

• Environmental NGOs
• Local Nature Partnerships
• Local Government environment and planning policy representatives (we received responses from c. 20 local authorities, with representation from across the Arc)
• DEFRA
• Natural England
• Environment Agency
• MHCLG (planning policy lead)
• University representative from the Universities’ Environment Group
• A LEP representative
• Anglian Water
• A Greater South East Energy Hub representative

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