Local communities in South Ayrshire will benefit from a unique agreement between the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) and South 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.
South 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, South 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.
South Ayrshire Council has also pledged to embed the CSGN in all relevant policies, strategies and plans and to enhance its partnership work to realise the CSGN vision.
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 South Ayrshire Council has come on board and we look forward to building on our relationship to create a lasting legacy for the future.”
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, said: “The signing of this Concordat highlights our commitment to creating a greener and more sustainable South Ayrshire for our communities and visitors and I am delighted to be part of the signing.
“We are very fortunate to enjoy a wonderful outdoor environment in South Ayrshire with vast open spaces, stunning coastlines, breathtaking woodland and an award-winning cycle network, and today we pledge our commitment to protecting and enhancing this for the benefit of all.
“Within the Concordat, we commit to developing clear standards for our open spaces, adopting a Core Path Plan, producing a Woodland Management Plan and a Street Tree Policy. Overall, this will help create a better local environment, help encourage active lifestyles, improve health and wellbeing, and help promote sustainable economic growth, making a difference for all and creating a legacy for a greener future.”
Three projects in South Ayrshire have already benefited from support through the CSGN Development Fund including South Ayrshire Council which was awarded £25,000 to conduct a Windfarm and Forest Path Networks Feasibility Study. The project was aimed at expanding the network of off road walking and cycling networks within the area, leading to health, recreation and tourism benefits.
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 South 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.