Partners gear up to deliver green vision for central Scotland

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11 MARCH 2010NEWS RELEASE No: 13377

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Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham visited Craigmillar today (Thursday 11 March) to see how the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) initiative could help transform this area of Edinburgh and contribute to a better environment for the whole central belt of Scotland.

The visit - part of the first meeting of the new CSGN Board – offered an overview of the ambitious plans for the area developed by the City of Edinburgh Council and the PARC Craigmillar regeneration project.

Part of the plans for Craigmillar aim to establish a ‘Park for Health’ at North Meadow Park, next to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and open up 150 acres of new woodland while offering better strategic connections for cycling and walking.

Local residents, patients, hospital workers and staff at the nearby bio-medical research park will have access to new greenspace for leisure activities, giving them an added boost to a healthier lifestyle. The project also seeks to explore opportunities for the promotion of healthy eating through new allotments and community orchards.

Ms Cunningham said:

“The work being done by City of Edinburgh Council and PARC to ‘green’ Craigmillar is a great example, in miniature, of what the Central Scotland Green Network aims to achieve.

“Establishing a high quality green network across central Scotland will improve the local environment, encouraging community pride and enriching people’s lives – physically and mentally.

“It will create an attractive environment for businesses and draw in investment, promoting economic growth. It will also boost biodiversity while helping Scotland respond to the challenge of climate change.

“In short, it’s a fantastic opportunity to revitalise central Scotland – and Craigmillar will be a showcase for what can be achieved.”

The Central Scotland Green Network, which stretches from Ayrshire through to East Lothian, aims to increase woodland cover within its boundary by 50 per cent and triple the area devoted to community growing spaces. The initiative will also ensure that every home in Central Scotland is within 300m of an attractive, safe, and well-maintained green space.

Other commitments include developing habitat corridors to help wildlife flourish and establishing walking and cycling networks spanning the central belt.

The new landscape will take 30-40 years to reach full maturity but the Network is already focussing on the end result.

CSGN Chair, Keith Geddes, said:

“Today’s Board meeting is the first small step on a long journey. We recognise that we face major challenges but we are already focusing on creating the conditions for success.

“All of the partners want to achieve the best possible results for central Scotland and recognise that this can only be achieved by co-ordinating our efforts. This is a team effort in the biggest sense of the term and I am confident that together with organisations like the City Council, PARC and local communities we can transform the landscape here in Edinburgh and across the central belt.”

Led jointly by Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage, the CSGN was designated as a National Development in the Government’s 2nd National Planning Framework and covers 19 local authorities. For a detailed listing visit

Notes to news editors

1) The CSGN was officially launched by the Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham on 30 September 2009 at the Green Networks: Potential for Central Scotland conference. Describing the CSGN as an: “ambitious new greenspace project, the biggest of its kind in Europe,” the Minister set out how the initiative will see the central belt of Scotland transformed into a more attractive place, benefiting over three million people who live or do business there.

2) The PARC Craigmillar regeneration project was announced by Scottish Government as an ‘exemplar project’ under the Scottish Sustainable Communities Initiative.

PARC ( is a joint venture company which brings developers The EDI Group and The City of Edinburgh Council together with groups and representatives from the local Craigmillar community. PARC is spearheading the regeneration of Craigmillar, involving a total investment of around 200 million. For Craigmillar, PARC wants to achieve:

 Quality, affordable new homes promoted and sold under the ParcLife name.
 New primary schools - including a joint primary schools campus at The Square.
 A new community high school and library located in the town centre.
 A new, revitalised town centre providing some 300,000 sq ft of space for commercial and retail development.
 A network of public parks bringing together 150 acres of green space.
 More local job and career opportunities.
 Improved learning and leisure facilities for young people.
 Better transport linkages and traffic calming measures.

For further information on ParcLife, please call 0845 220 5000 or visit

Media enquiries: Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508.