The development of an indicative habitat network (IHN) is a key action underpinning the realisation of the CSGN. Delivered through landscape scale habitat enhancement projects and local action to prevent the fragmentation of habitats and the loss of species, it will allow our wildlife to adapt to climate change. The habitat network will contribute to high landscape quality across the Central Belt, provide increased recreational opportunities with associated health and well-being improvements, improve water and air quality, support flood prevention and action to address climate change.

There is now full coverage of IHN Mapping for the CSGN area including woodland, wetland, neutral grassland, acid grassland and heathland. A series of dissemination events have helped to share learning with partners and planning, forestry and landscape professionals. The first IHN forum was held in March 2013 to bring together IHN users from local authorities, agencies, NGOs and consultancies.

In 2012, SNH began work on a landscape-scale, multi-partner, multi-site LIFE+ submission to improve ecological coherence across the CSGN area. The project will focus on creating and improving habitat quality and connectivity of three main habitat types: peatland/blanket bog, wetland, and woodland. The bid was submitted in June 2013.

In September 2013, SNH launched an online Indicative Habitat Network user tool for the CSGN area. The simple GIS mapping tool allows a user to view the existing habitat networks at a range of scales and then to scenario-plan new land use options, such as woodland planting to see the effect on connectivity and habitat function across landscapes. It can be found to the SNH website.

The CSGN Development Fund has supported over 40 habitat focussed projects, including habitat and biodiversity improvements in the Nith and Lugar water catchments in East Ayrshire.

To deliver the IHN, we aim by 2016 to ensure that:

  • The Ecological Coherence project encompassing landscape scale habitat network enhancement projects is submitted for LIFE+ funding.
  • The Ecological coherence LIFE+ project has secured funding and the project has started (or alternate sources of funding are being sought).
  • IHN data and associated web based land use planning tools have been promoted in policy and practice and are actively used by decision-makers.
  • The IHN model has been rerun with updated methodology and data sources and the results reported upon, published and disseminated.

This work is being taken forward by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH)

 

The diverse range of landscapes within the CSGN project area is a key resource. Landscapes contribute to social, cultural, economic and environmental values. The benefits of landscapes to society are dependent on their quality and condition. People’s perceptions are also important and there is a close relationship between perception, experience and appreciation of landscapes qualities. There is a need to improve our understanding of these landscapes and to use this information effectively to develop and implement an agreed landscape vision for CSGN which will support regional distinctiveness and quality, lead to the restoration of degraded landscapes and make better links between urban and rural areas.

A landscape audit of the CSGN area and landscape actions were finalised in early 2012.  Following scoping, work on peri-urban guidelines, landscape enhancement and wildness got underway in 2013. SNH published a new Wildness Map in 2014. The areas identified are nationally important in Scottish Planning Policy, but are not a statutory designation. The Place Book Scotland website was also updated, with significant new content, and was launched in 2014. 

Landscape Partnerships are active in the Ochils, Clyde and Avon Valley and Inner Forth and others are in the early stages of development. In addition, the Association for the Protection of Rural Scotland has been awarded SNH grant to work with 50 communities in the CSGN to help them develop local landscape objectives.

To deliver our landscape actions, we aim by 2016 to ensure that:

  • Placebook Scotland has been developed to promote awareness, appreciation and debate on the landscapes in the CSGN area.
  • Wildness and other special qualities of landscape across the CSGN area mapped and promoted in policy and practice.
  • Technical guidance has been prepared and disseminated to inform future landscape change in peri-urban areas.
  • At least 2 strategic landscape enhancement projects have been established to complement existing and proposed Heritage Lottery Funded landscape partnership projects.

This work is being taken forward by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

Our Vision for Central Scotland

‘By 2050, Central Scotland has been transformed into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people’s lives are enriched by its quality.’

The Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) will change the face of Central Scotland, by restoring and transforming the landscape of an area stretching from Ayrshire and Inverclyde in the west, to Fife and the Lothians in the east.

The CSGN is a national development within the National Planning Framework which aims to make ‘a significant contribution to Scotland's sustainable economic development’. It involves public agencies and stakeholders working together to align their policies, programmes and actions to achieve a common aim.