The importance of green infrastructure in transforming the way we live in Central Scotland was highlighted at a conference in Edinburgh today (Thursday 15th June 2017).
The seventh annual forum of the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) drew inspiration from across the globe with leading experts from Italy, Belfast and Copenhagen underlining the need for greenspace, green infrastructure and active travel routes in cities and urban environments.
The Scottish Government also highlighted its ongoing commitment to the CSGN and announced there will be a dedicated CSGN Development Fund for 2018/2019 to improve greenspace across Central Scotland. Since 2010 the fund has provided over £6.3 million and helped 185 projects across the Central Belt transform the quality of life for people living and working in the area.
Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham MSP, said: “Since 2010 the CSGN Development Fund has helped transform the central belt into a greener place through some £6.3 million of support to projects that are encouraging active travel, habitat restoration, woodland planting and community growing.
“I am delighted to confirm we will be able to give more communities the opportunity to deliver change in their areas and will shortly reopen the fund for 2018 entries.”
The conference showcased exemplar green active travel routes from both across the globe and closer to home as inspiration for Central Scotland.
Little France Park in Edinburgh was one such flagship project. The park, in the burgeoning BioQuarter, includes high-quality cycling and walking paths which demonstrate how active travel and green infrastructure can be integrated from the outset, as part of a master-planned developmental project.
Delegates also had the opportunity to learn from Copenhagen which aims to be the world’s best cycling city. Already more than 50% of the city’s residents cycle to work or education and Copenhagen’s success as a cycle-friendly city has stemmed from the deliberate integration of quieter, greener, natural habitats with active travel routes that connect key destinations across the city.
This urban retrofitting of integrated green active travel routes has created the Copenhagen Green Cycle Routes - or Grønne Cykelruter – which consists of over 58km of green active travel routes across the city. The Green Cycle Routes programme currently features 24 individual cycle routes which connect green parks, lakes, the harbour, and university – utilising disused railways and playing fields to provide a more pleasant link between different neighbourhoods across Copenhagen.
Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust (CSGNT) which drives forward delivery of the CSGN, explained: “Greenspace, green infrastructure and active travel are vitally important for the future of Central Scotland and bring multiple benefits across health, transport, the economy and the wider environment.
“It is important that we learn from these inspiring city projects which demonstrate the value of creating more liveable places which are better for health, well-being and urban biodiversity and which contribute to local culture and identity and help with climate change resilience.”
To find out further details on the range of projects showcased at the CSGN Forum visit www.centralscotlandgreennetwork.org/forum
As Europe’s largest greenspace initiative, CSGN is working to transform the central belt into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people’s lives are enriched by its quality. Stretching from Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire in the west, to Fife and Lothians in the east, it encompasses 19 local authorities across 10,000 sq km and has the potential to benefit 3.5million people, equating to 70 per cent of Scotland’s population.