Local communities in Falkirk will benefit from a unique agreement between the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) and Falkirk 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.

Falkirk Council is the third Council to sign 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, Falkirk 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.

Falkirk Council has also pledged to embed the CSGN in all relevant policies, strategies and plans and to ensure the Green Network is integrated, as appropriate, into its development plans, frameworks and design briefs. 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 Falkirk Council  has come on board and we look forward to building on our relationship to create a lasting legacy for the future.”

Cllr Craig Martin, Leader of Falkirk Council said: “We have a great environmental legacy in the Falkirk area and this agreement will help us progress a number of new ideas that will benefit our communities.  We look forward to successful working in the future and seeing our communities benefit from this work.”

Three projects in Falkirk have already benefited from support through the CSGN Development Fund.

This includes Forth Environment Link which has been awarded £410,190 to date to deliver a programme of support for community groups and landowners to manage existing and plant new orchards in Falkirk, Stirling and Clackmannanshire; to offer an Orchard Grant Scheme to support local groups in the creation and management of orchards across the CSGN area; and to support 23 people in achieving their certificate in Orchard Management from Elmwood College.

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 Falkirk 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.