The PERFECT (Planning for Environment and Resource eFficiency in European Cities and Towns) project aims to improve policies to maximise the multiple benefits of green infrastructure for jobs and growth. This article provides an update on the work of the PERFECT partner Bratislava Karlova Ves Municipality to influence national policy in Slovakia based on learning and activities carried out during the project.
At the first PERFECT partner meeting in January 2017, all partners discussed the definition of green infrastructure together with the European Commission and shared learning about ensuring that all stakeholders understand a common definition.
In November 2018, the Ministry of the Environment of Slovak Republic published the Amendment to the Nature and Landscape Protection Act for a public consultation process. Although the partner agreed with many of the proposals, there was still a lack of relevant support for green infrastructure issues including the better management of greenery and trees in the cities and towns. Through the PERFECT project, Bratislava Karlova Ves Municipality and their stakeholder group prepared a response to the consultation which mainly focused on:
- A new definition of green infrastructure that more accurately describes its functions; and
- Better protection and promotion of green infrastructure in general.
The results of a survey of key stakeholders carried out through the PERFECT project in March and April 2017 were fed into the new proposed definition of green infrastructure, which is: “Green infrastructure is a network of natural and semi-natural elements, green areas and aquatic ecosystems that provide ecosystem services, support biodiversity, offer nature near solutions for problems especially in the built-up areas and ensure the linking of the built-up area with the natural surrounding countryside.”
The consultation response also referenced another PERFECT project deliverable, ‘Guide about the green infrastructure for municipalities‘, which provides justification for the better protection and promotion of green infrastructure.
By the time the deadline had closed for the consultation, this response from Bratislava Karlova Ves Municipality had been supported by over 900 others. This level of support means that the Ministry of the Environment of the Slovak Republic will have to consider the comments with the aim of incorporating them into the final Amendment. This negotiation process will start in the very near future.
In conclusion, the achievements to date of the partner in influencing national policy - by bringing together stakeholders through the work of the project - is providing learning for other partners to create similar results in their Action Plans.