How it works


The Standards

Building with Nature is a voluntary approach that enables developers, who want to go beyond the statutory minima, to create places that really deliver for people and wildlife. It brings together guidance and good practice to recognise high quality green infrastructure at all stages of the development process including policy, planning, design, delivery, and long-term management and maintenance. It has been developed by practitioners and policy makers, academic experts and end-users, and has been tried and tested in multiple schemes from Cornwall to Scotland.  

The framework of standards is divided into four themes: core, wellbeing, water and wildlife.

There are two levels of accreditation:

  • Good - high quality green infrastructure, delivering benefits within the boundary of the scheme; and

  • Excellent - exemplary quality green infrastructure, delivering benefits within and beyond the boundary of the scheme.

The User Guide (available on request) describes each of the standards in full and explains the scoring for each level of accreditation.


Core standards

Distinguish green infrastructure from a more conventional approach to provision for open and green space.

  1. Multi-functional network

  2. Contextual

  3. Policy-responsive

  4. Climate-resilient

  5. Future-proof

Wellbeing standards

Secure health and wellbeing benefits through the delivery of green infrastructure features close to where people live.

  1. Accessible

  2. Inclusive

  3. Seasonal enjoyment

  4. Locally relevant

  5. Socially sustainable

  6. Distinctive

Water standards

Managing water quantity and quality, and maximising opportunities for amenity and biodiversity.

  1. Quantity

  2. Quality

  3. Amenity and biodiversity

  4. Innovative

  5. Resilient

  6. Locally distinctive

Wildlife standards

Create places where nature can flourish, both within the boundary of the scheme, and at a landscape scale.

  1. Bigger and better

  2. More joined up

  3. Locally-relevant

  4. Nature-rich development

  5. Ecological networks

  6. Sensitive construction


Applying the standards

There are three levels of Accreditation: Design Award, Full Award (Good) and Full Award (Excellent).

Applications are invited at any stage in the development process: pre-application, reserved matters application, and post-construction/in-use. At pre-application stage, or for small developments, the entire masterplan is assessed for accreditation. For bigger schemes, reserved matters applications of individual parcels of development are eligible for assessment, to allow a phased approach to accreditation.


design award

Recognising high quality green infrastructure at the planning and design stage of development.


full award - good

Recognising development that has delivered a high quality of green infrastructure.


full award - Excellent

Recognising development that has delivered an exemplary of green infrastructure.