Building greener pastures - 24 Housing opinion piece by Jonathan Layzell

Last month, plans for a third runway at Heathrow airport were ruled illegal because ministers did not adequately take into account the government’s carbon-reduction targets. The ruling shows how we must consider the environmental impact of everything we do.

Jonathan Layzell

While the Heathrow Airport ruling may not directly link with what we do as housing providers, it does show organisations like ours need to take very seriously the environmental impact of our work and be more creative in how we minimise our contribution to the climate emergency.

Climate change is the biggest single challenge across the globe right now, and on a smaller, but no less meaningful scale, the UK is also in the midst of a housing crisis. As an organisation with ambitious development plans, Stonewater understands the immense pressures to increase the number of homes we are building to give as many people as possible the opportunity of having a place they can call home.

We also have a responsibility to focus on the quality, design, sense of place, and legacy of any new homes being constructed, and so we’re also very mindful that achieving this should not mean sacrificing care or responsibility to our environment.

To address this, my colleagues and I are always looking for new ways to transform, strengthen, and enhance the communities in which we operate.

It’s important to us as an organisation to demonstrate to our customers that we care about protecting the environment and creating sustainable communities, which is why we partnered with the Community Forest Trust last year.

For every new home we build, Stonewater donates £50 to the Community Forest Trust, helping plant five trees and connect more people to nature, as well as planting as least one tree on each of our developments in as many gardens as possible.

As part of the work we’re undertaking with the Community Forest Trust, we’ve also supported the organisation in coppicing and clearing some of the woodland area in Dinton Pastures.

The park based in Wokingham was recently affected by the flooding caused by Storm Dennis, and it was incredibly rewarding to be out in the field helping my colleagues and the Community Forest Trust team clear up some of the damage.

Being able to get your hands dirty and see how initiatives like this really impact local areas is something every housing provider should be aiming to do – and our involvement should not just be left at the hands of frontline colleagues.

We all share this world, and we have a joint responsibility to promote growth among woodland areas and support the survival of our wildlife.

By doing this, we not only increase the chances of saving the planet but to create an even nicer places for our customers to live in.

Jonathan Layzell, Executive Director, Development

You can also read the full article on the 24 Housing Website.