Europe’s biggest greenspace initiative, based in the central belt of Scotland, has received a £500,000 shot in the arm to help kick-start delivery work for the project.
The funding, in the form of a new Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) Development Fund, will ultimately help the initiative reach its goals of transforming the area by increasing woodland cover by 50 per cent, boosting outdoor recreation opportunities, improving the landscape and regenerating derelict and vacant land.
Announcing the new development fund, Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said:
“The CSGN has the ability to transform the area’s environment and the health of three million people living in the central belt. The initiative will also give the network area a key competitive edge by creating a higher quality working environment which will attract more companies.
“This is a long-term goal for the CSGN and the funding scheme announced today is a first step to stimulate development work towards larger scale projects. “
The new fund, administered by Forestry Commission Scotland, will support costs for a range of early activities including site investigation work, surveys, planning and design work, mapping, data collection and community or stakeholder consultations. Support will be focused on proposals that will lead to real change on the ground in the next few years.
Keith Geddes, Chair of the CSGN added:
“This welcome news will kick start preparatory work that will lead to a variety of projects which will help transform central Scotland. We will be exploring other sources of finance in the public and private sectors as a means of creating high quality, attractive places where people want to live and work, where companies want to invest, and where tourists want to visit.”
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.
For fuller details of the CSGN Development Fund, log on to http://www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-85bgtl .