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Our natural environment

2 July 2018


Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure includes parks, open spaces, playing fields, woodlands, allotments and private gardens.
These sites should be strategically planned in order to deliver a network of high-quality green spaces and other environmental features.
Green Infrastructure can provide many social, economic and environmental benefits close to where people live and work including:
  • Places for outdoor relaxation and play
  • Space and habitat for wildlife with access to nature for people
  • Climate change adaptation - for example flood alleviation and cooling urban heat islands.
  • Environmental education
  • Local food production - in allotments, gardens and through agriculture
  • Improved health and well-being – lowering stress levels and providing opportunities for exercise

Green Infrastructure Strategy

A Green Infrastructure Strategy is currently being developed for Essex, which will aim to unlock our green assets to deliver multiple benefits such as, supporting healthier, more active lifestyles, flood alleviation and mitigating climate change, enhancing and protecting biodiversity and contribution to economic growth.


The aim of this strategy is for:


  • an evidence base of the benefits of existing green infrastructure.

  •  an articulation about how we might improve the quality of accessible green space (and green infrastructure) in Essex.

  • the role of green infrastructure in planning (local plans) and management of open spaces from urban growth.

  • green infrastructure projects which will make Essex liveable.


Below are some of the projects which restore and enhance green infrastructure in Essex.

 Thames estuary path logo        

In 2014 we opened the Thames Estuary Path funded by the Veolia North Thames Trust and the MaxiGreen project, an Interreg Two Seas programme.
You can explore the 29-mile (46.6km) Thames Estuary Path through the fascinating South Essex Marshes, from Tilbury Town all the way to Leigh-on-Sea. Passing through an industrial and settled beautiful landscape with a wealth of history and biodiversity.
The marshes are bordered to the north by settlements and to the south by the shore of the Thames. It's a flat, low-lying landscape, dominated by creeks, marshes and mudflats.
The path is easily accessible by train, linking six local train stations on one of the most attractive railway lines in the country (the C2C London Fenchurch to Shoeburyness line). The path is clearly signed and waymarked along the length with a distinctive logo.
Visit the website or download the TEP mobile app, which offer five smaller tours starting and finishing at the local train stations:


Maxi Green logo
MaxiGreen was a European project where seven EU partners worked together to improve a collection of green spaces and heritage areas that had been neglected over the years.

The project was funded through the EU Interreg programme.  We led on a project to develop the South Essex Marshes.


The Greater Thames Marshes NIA covers 55,000 ha of estuarine and marshland landscapes in Essex, Kent and London – a fascinating combination of wilderness and development, and is rich in biodiversity.
The Greater Thames Marshes NIA Partnership is a new initiative formed to deliver landscape-scale, integrated, practical, visible and accessible improvements to nature in the project area.
This has been done by harnessing the skills and energy of organisations and individuals working and living across this iconic landscape, and by engaging landowners and managers, coordinating their efforts to a commonly agreed end. The Greater Thames Marshes is one of only 12 in England. The three-year business programme has finished and the work of the NIA is being continued by the Thames Gateway Local Nature Partnership, coordinated by Essex County Council.
Essex County Council led this £10 million programme which had five major projects, set out below:
  • £5.2 million creation of the Bowers Marsh in Basildon by RSPB
  • £800,000 endowment to the Land Trust to manage 20 hectares of Canvey Wick
  • £1.6 million to create the Wat Tyler Green Centre and create new wildlife habitats
  • £675,000 to support the creation of the Thurrock Thameside Nature Park Visitor Centre by Essex Wildlife Trust at Mucking
  • £1.3 million improvements to the RSPB reserve at Purfleet