Environment boost for central belt residents

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Plans to improve the environment of Scotland’s central belt and the quality of life of its three million residents received a boost today with additional support for Europe’s biggest greenspace initiative.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) have confirmed extra support for the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) development fund, which will encourage the creation of better quality greenspace for people and wildlife.

The fund aims to make the central belt, from Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire in the west through to Fife and East Lothian in the east, a more attractive place in which to live, work and visit.

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham welcomed the move saying:

“The Central Scotland Green Network is an essential element of our strategy for Scotland’s long term development.

“The fund will act as a stimulus for preparatory work which will lead to real change in the coming years.”

The CSGN aims to increase woodland cover by 50 per cent, boost outdoor recreation opportunities, improve the landscape and regenerate derelict and vacant land in within its boundary.

The fund was originally set up with £500,000 from Forestry Commission Scotland. Both FCS and SNH have allocated an extra £200,000 each, bringing the total for the Central Scotland Green Network fund to £900,000.

Keith Geddes, chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Partnership Board, added:

“This additional funding is a welcome boost and will have a direct benefit on the lives of over three million Scots living and working within central Scotland. It is a further step towards creating a greener, more attractive environment for people to live and work and will help create a more attractive environment for companies seeking to invest in Scotland.”

SNH’s contribution of £200,000 will also widen the eligibility of the fund. It currently offers support for the first stages of development work towards larger scale projects, including site investigation, surveys, planning and design, mapping, data collection and community or partner consultations. 

As a result of the SNH funding, £200,000 will now be available for projects without a significant element of woodland planting or management, allowing more people to apply. 

Funding is available for high quality projects that include:

  • Woodland creation and management;
  • the development of high quality landscape structures which support development plan settlement strategies (including accessible greenspace for communities)
  • the development of strategic routes for active travel and recreation
  • the development of strategic habitat networks and habitat development projects
  • the restoration of vacant and derelict land for green network purposes the integration of woodland, habitat, greenspace and access development with water catchment and coastal zone management.

Projects will be judged competitively against the scheme criteria. Further details can be found at: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/website/forestry.nsf/byunique/infd-85bgtl. Closing date for applications is 30 September 2010.



Notes for editors

 1. Scottish Natural Heritage is the Government’s advisor on all aspects of nature and landscape across Scotland. Our role is to help everyone understand, value and enjoy Scotland’s nature now and in the future. For further information on SNH, please visit our website at www.snh.gov.uk

 2. Forestry Commission Scotland serves as the Scottish Government’s forestry directorate www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland.

 3. See also FCS Press Release 13812 of 4 August 2010 Funding awards kick start delivery of Central Scotland Green Network: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/newsrele.nsf/aa14185030b005dc8025751b004c36d9/68aeef223d8f321f80257760004d587d!OpenDocument

 4. The CSGN stretches from Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire in the west through to Fife and East Lothian in the east. Forestry Commission Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage are joint lead partners for the development of the Central Scotland Green Network.

 The Scottish Government’s second National Planning Framework, June 2009 identifies the CGSN as a national priority, which will deliver:

 “...a step change in environmental quality, woodland cover and recreational opportunities...[and] make Central Scotland a more attractive place to live in, do business and visit; help to absorb CO²; enhance biodiversity; and promote active travel and healthier life styles”.

 5. Media enquiries:

SNH: Vicki Mowat, Scottish Natural Heritage press & public relations officer, on 0131 316 2659 or email vicki.mowat@snh.gov.uk

 FCS: Steve Williams, Forestry Commission Scotland press office 0131 314 6508 or steve.williams@forestry.gsi.gov.uk

e-mail: steve.williams@forestry.gsi.gov.uk