Park is clear winner in top awards for planning excellence

East Devon District Council training volunteers to record ancient trees

East Devon District Council training volunteers to record ancient trees - Credit: Jenny Steer

The Clyst Valley Regional Park has been declared overall winner at the Royal Town Planning Institute South West Awards for Planning Excellence 2021.

The park also won the Excellence in Plan Making Practice category and highly commended in the RTPI South West Chairs Award for Health, Wellbeing and Inclusivity. 

Hot on the tail of COP26 and with a clear vision to support East Devon District Council’s aim to be net carbon zero by 2040, the plan evidences the impact that planners can have on sustainability and promoting wellbeing. East Devon District Council’s cross-cutting team turned an ambitious green infrastructure policy for the Clyst Valley Regional Park into a 25-year masterplan, backed by public support and a partnership of seventeen organizations.

Councillor Geoff Jung, East Devon District Council’s Portfolio Holder for Coast, Country and Environment, said: “I am delighted that the team at East Devon District Council have been recognised for their hard work on the Clyst Valley Regional Park masterplan.

“A Nature Recovery Network forms part of the masterplan and ambitious targets have been set for nature, people and climate. For example, we’ve secured a grant of £100,000 from the Government and we've allocated £10,000 from the Council’s Climate Fund for our ‘Clyst Canopy’ project for more trees, of the right type, in the right place. That’s one of the many actions in East Devon’s climate plan.

“The Committee on Climate Change recommends a national target of 17% tree cover by 2050. We’re more ambitious than that! We’ve set a target of 30% for the Clyst Valley. The goal is to encourage local businesses to invest in the conversion of unproductive farmland to woodland.”

Chair of RTPI South West Angharad Williams, said: “In a year of uncertainty, I am delighted by the broad range of inspirational entries that we received this year. Celebrating planning excellence allows us to reflect, reward and learn from exemplar projects, teams and people as we move forward in transforming our communities, protecting and enhancing the environment, creating successful economies and delivering exceptional places. Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists and winners.”