Landscapes that are feeling the love - and maybe �18,000

DAVID GREEN reports on a competition which is promoting green growth in the areas around one of our biggest industries

THREE projects have been shortlisted for a competition organised by the “green” arm of a partnership established to oversee the economic development around an area which is home to East Anglia’s biggest ports and an array of wildlife.

The Haven Gateway Partnership (HGP), which involves local authorities and businesses such as BT and Hutchison Ports, was set up ten years ago to promote economic development in a wide area encompassing the “haven ports” of Felixstowe, Ipswich, Harwich and Mistley.

Funding comes from the European Union, the UK Government and the group’s partners.

As well as being important for shipping and associated industries and earmarked for large numbers of new homes, the area is of international and national importance for its wildlife, thousands of over-wintering birds using the Stour and Orwell estuaries for feeding and breeding.

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HGP says it recognises the importance of the habitat and a local landscape which includes part of a nationally designated Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

However, it is also keen to establish or enhance what it calls “green infrastructure”, including open spaces, within a development zone which stretches well beyond the area of the ports – as far as Colchester and into the Babergh rural district west of Ipswich, taking in the major routes into the area. The Haven Gateway Green Infrastructure Strategy (HaGGIS) was adopted by the partnership three years ago with the aim, with the help of Groundwork East, of keeping the provision of community open space and access in pace with anticipated housing and population growth.

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A competition called I Love Landscapes, with a prize of �18,000, was launched last year with the aim of establishing or enhancing green spaces to help relieve the impact of development.

Three projects have been shortlisted and the public is now being invited to vote on which should receive the money.

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