CIHT Green and Blue Infrastructure Report – One Year On

13th Feb 2024

A year after the publication of CIHT’s report ‘Green and Blue Infrastructure: A transport sector perspective’ we look at the work CIHT has done to progress one of the main recommendations set out in the report – to promote awareness and understanding of Green and Blue Infrastructure.

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The importance of Green and Blue Infrastructure 

Green and Blue Infrastructure (GBI) is a term given to natural and semi-natural features, interventions and structures such as street trees, green roofs/walls, rain gardens, swales, filter strips, which all integrate into the management train of sustainable drainage systems (SuDS)).

GBI can bring many social, environmental and economic benefits to a local area. For roads specifically, GBI can reduce the effects of climate change by providing shade to streets, carbon capture and flood water drainage. Roads also serve a purpose as linear green linkages, whereby the strips of trees and plants that run alongside roads provide a means for connecting green spaces and reversing the effects of biodiversity fragmentation. Additionally, if more road space is allocated to GBI, walking and cycling can become a more attractive mode of transport, helping to increase active travel. 

Despite the many improvements GBI can bring to an area, in 2023 CIHT published the results of a survey which suggested that:

  • There was a lack of awareness of what counted as GBI (20% of respondents gave incorrect answers when asked to provide examples of GBI). 
  • The benefits of GBI were not fully acknowledged by the transport sector (1% of respondents listed the economic benefits of GBI).

On this basis, CIHT published a report in February 2023 (Green and blue infrastructure: A transport sector perspective) which made several recommendations to our members, central government agencies, and local authorities, highlighting the need for:

  • Greater promotion of GBI;
  • Improved GBI guidance; and
  • Funding for local authorities.


Greater promotion of GBI at CIHT

In the GBI report, CIHT acknowledged that we must play an active role in promoting the benefits of GBI and increase the sector’s knowledge and awareness of GBI.

Over the course of the last 12 months, we have done this through many activities, which you can see below. 


CIHT Masterclass – Green and Blue Infrastructure for Climate Resilient Roads

In this webinar, the highlights of CIHT’s GBI report were presented by James Elliott (Elliott Asset Management), who chaired the steering group responsible for the report. We then explored examples of GBI, the benefits they bring and how they can be properly implemented with a talk from Dr Gemma Jerome (Building with Nature) on the use of Sustainable Drainage Systems, and Sue James (Trees and Design Action Group) with Hen Abbott (Gloucestershire County Council) on issues surrounding street trees.

>>> CIHT Members can watch a recording of the CIHT Masterclass on Green and Blue Infrastructure for Climate Resilient Roads here


>>> Access the Key Takeaways from CIHT Masterclass on Green and Blue Infrastructure for Climate Resilient Roads here


CIHT Learn – An Introduction to Green and Blue Infrastructure

We developed a CIHT Learn course to serve as an introduction to GBI, which we hope will fill the knowledge gaps that were identified in the GBI report. 

By completing this course, we believe that:

  • You will have a confident understanding of the political, social, economic, environmental, and legal drivers for delivering GBI.
  • You will understand what functions and benefits GBI components deliver from the perspective of a highways or transport professional.
    You will be able to describe how GBI relates to nature-based solutions, ecosystem services, natural capital, and biodiversity net gain.  
  • You will be able to advocate for high-quality GBI within the public realm e.g. as integrated components along our streets, roads and highways.
  • You will understand what Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) are, how they work and the role GBI plays in delivering SuDS at different scales, in different locations.
  • You will gain an understanding of how GBI can support the circular economy of public realm assets.


The CIHT's "Introduction to Green and Blue Infrastructure" is an excellent, user-friendly resource for anyone interested in sustainable development. It's informative, practical, and easy to follow.
The inclusion of case studies is a major plus, the course simplifies complex concepts, making it accessible for all levels of participants.
Whether you're a professional or just curious, this guide is an asset for a greener future. Highly recommended!

- GreenBlue Urban

I found the GBI CIHT Learn course to be enjoyable and very informative. Not only did it provide clarity around the language used, it gave me a great technical baseline of the benefits of this complex topic. I would recommend it to all members, at all stages of their careers.

Peter Molyneux FCIHT, Managing Director at Peter Molyneux Consulting Ltd

>>> CIHT Members can access the 'Introduction to Green and Blue Infrastructure' CIHT Learn course for FREE here


CIHT Roundtable – Overcoming skills gaps for the integration of SuDS on highways

On 27 June 2023, in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management (CIWEM), CIHT hosted a roundtable that sought to overcome challenges which currently hinder integrating Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) on our highways.

The key messages from the roundtable were:

  • Institutions must come together to ensure that high quality SuDS are delivered across all disciplines.
  • We need more signposting of good practice and myth-busting to show that implementing SuDS is not as expensive or difficult as it seems.
  • Recognise the drivers for change and shift the narrative so SuDS are seen by highway professionals as a key solution to upcoming challenges.
  • Get buy-in from local communities to advocate for and maintain SuDS in their areas and to help improve placemaking.


>>> Read a full write up of the roundtable here


CIHT’s Green and Blue Infrastructure report wins Climate Change and Resilience Award

Isobel Wilson, CIHT Policy Advisor and James Elliott FCIHT, Elliott Asset Management won the PIARC UK Climate Change and Resilience award for their research paper titled ‘How to encourage Green and Blue Infrastructure in the Transport Sector’, which was adapted from the CIHT GBI report. 

Isobel and James then went on to present this research paper at the 27th World Road Congress in Prague, highlighting the environmental, economic, social and health benefits of GBI as well as the barriers to GBI implementation in the UK – a lack of awareness and associated negative connotations.


CIHT presence at conferences

CIHT’s Green and Blue Infrastructure report was presented at the 21st Annual Transport Practitioner’s Meeting in Greenwich in June 2023 during the ‘Our Spaces’ session, and at the Climate Resilient Streets conference in November 2023 during the ‘Why partnership working is key to transforming our streets’ session.

CIHT will also be hosting a session at the Trees, People and the Built Environment conference in April 2024 looking at ‘Roads as green spaces’

During this panel discussion with practitioners who have experience in researching and implementing trees on our streets and roads, CIHT Chief Executive Sue Percy will investigate what more the highways and transport industry can do to shift the narrative on highways being places solely for vehicular movement to safe active travel routes, biodiverse, green links, and places for people.


Going forward – CIHT report on resilience and adaptation to extreme weather conditions in the highway sector

Following on from the work CIHT has done on GBI, a new project we are undertaking this year will look at the need for maintenance and renewals and the additional challenges of adapting our infrastructure and services in the face of the effects of extreme weather events to create a resilient infrastructure (materials, design and construction processes). 

If you would like to be involved in this project, or would like to offer your opinion on resilience in the highway sector, please email


2024 CIHT Awards  - only a few weeks left! 

Have you been involved in a project that has implemented GBI within the streetscape? Why not enter it into the ‘CIHT Creating Better Places Award’ category. 

The CIHT Awards is an annual global competition that can provide the work you are most proud of with the international recognition it deserves. The awards celebrate your innovative work, what it takes to be the best and the incredible benefits your work and the highways and transportation sector bring to society.

Your role is to produce incredible work, our role is to celebrate best practice, promote your professionalism and give it the biggest stage.

  • The awards are free to enter
  • No project too big or too small
  • Entries can be from any location
  • Entries are open to every organisation working in the sector, whether a CIHT partner or not
  • Entries can be submitted by anyone whether a CIHT member or not
  • Eligible projects can be entered for as many categories as appropriate
  • An organisation can also enter as many distinct eligible projects as they wish for a category
  • Entries are judged by impartial expert judges with a diversity of experience and opinion


>>> Click here to enter your project for the 2024 CIHT Awards


Help & Support

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