Last edited 26 Jan 2023

Natural environment

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[edit] How is the natural environment defined?

The term 'natural environment' refers to the non-human-made surroundings and conditions in which living and non-living things exist on Earth. The common concept of the natural environment encompasses two different components:

The natural environment is in contrast with the 'built environment' which refers to areas that have been fundamentally transformed and influenced by human activity, such as cities, towns, infrastructure, and so on.

[edit] What impact does construction have on the natural environment?

Gemini Papers: What are connected digital twins?, published by the Centre for Digital Built Britain in 2022, suggests that: ‘The natural environment provides the foundations of the built environment, the economy, society and the planet. It is the original source of everything from fresh water and food to materials and medicine. It plays a critical role in regulating water cycles and temperature; buffering against extreme weather events; preventing the spread of disease; recycling nutrients and storing carbon; and ensuring the health and wellbeing of society.’

Environmental modelling involves the application of multidisciplinary knowledge to explain, explore and predict the Earth’s response to environmental change, both natural and human-induced.

Construction plays a central role in transforming the natural environment into the built environment, and there are many considerations and restrictions that can apply before a project is given permission to proceed in terms of how it may influence the environment.

For example, an environmental impact assessment (EIA) may be required to ensure that the environmental effects of a proposed development are properly considered. An EIA provides the local planning authority with better information to make a more informed decision about whether permission should be granted and to allow imposition of more appropriate conditions and obligations to mitigate possible negative impacts. For more information see: Environmental impact assessment

In addition, Ecological Impact Assessments (EcIA) can be undertaken to identify, quantify and evaluate the potential impacts of defined actions on ecosystems or their components. Ecological Impact Assessments are required for some large or sensitive projects to ensure that ecological effects are properly considered. For more information see: Ecological Impact Assessments

The green belt is intended to constrain the built environment and prevent it from spreading over the natural environment. For more information see: Green belt.

[edit] Other information about the natural environment

Designing Buildings has a wide range of articles relating to the environment, including:

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings


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