Local communities in North Ayrshire will benefit from a unique agreement between the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) and North Ayrshire Council, which will help to improve the social, physical, cultural and environmental well-being of the area.
The CSGN is Europe’s largest greenspace initiative which seeks to transform Central Scotland into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people’s lives are enriched by its quality.
North Ayrshire Council has signed up to the CSGN’s Local Authority Concordat, which recognises its commitment to formally help deliver the CSGN vision and highlights the fundamental role local authorities have to play in helping to achieve the network’s aims.
In signing up to the scheme, North Ayrshire Council has welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to the CSGN, as expressed through the network’s inclusion in Scotland’s second National Planning Framework, as well as the opportunities the CSGN has to offer.
North Ayrshire Council has also pledged to embed the CSGN in all relevant policies, strategies and plans and to develop and implement the Green Network across North Ayrshire. The Council has also committed to enhance its partnership work to realise the CSGN.
Keith Geddes, Chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Partnership Board, said: “In order to achieve the CSGN aims of delivering a high quality green network that will meet the Scottish Government’s environmental, social and economic objectives, we need to share resources, best practice and new thinking.
“Our Local Authority Concordat represents a collective understanding that working in partnership will ensure policies and resources are aligned and will in turn achieve the optimum results for all parties involved. I hugely welcome the fact that North Ayrshire Council has come on board and we look forward to building on our relationship to create a lasting legacy for the future.”
Councillor Willie Gibson, Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: "We are extremely fortunate to have an attractive and diverse landscape in North Ayrshire - with a beautiful coastline, rugged moorland, rolling farmland, island communities and mountainous peaks.
"We are rightly proud of our environment and this Concordat will help us make the most out of our natural assets - enriching local lives and making our environment an integral part of our economy and community rather than an added extra."
Eight projects in North Ayrshire have already benefited from support through the CSGN Development Fund including North Ayrshire Council which has been awarded £36,000 to improve and connect local sites to create a green network for Kilbirnie, improving the town’s recreational and biodiversity value and making it more attractive and accessible to the local community.
The project also aims to create a local path network for everyday journeys and recreation, providing opportunities for active travel and physical activity. The project will take place on predominantly vacant and derelict land to bring this back into beneficial use.
Stretching from Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire in the west, to Fife and the Lothians in the east, the CSGN 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.
The CSGN is encouraging other local authorities across Central Scotland to follow in the footsteps of North Ayrshire Council by signing its Local Authority Concordat.
The agreement marks a significant step forward in bringing together the right expertise, resources and people, in order to realise an ambitious project which will help to make Central Scotland a more attractive and distinctive place to live, to visit and to do business in.