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

Midlothian 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, Midlothian Council has welcomed the Scottish Government’s commitment to the CSGN, as expressed through the network’s inclusion in Scotland’s National Planning Framework, as well as the opportunities the CSGN has to offer.

Midlothian Council has also pledged to embed the CSGN in all relevant policies, strategies and plans and to develop and 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 Midlothian Council has come on board and we look forward to building on our relationship to create a lasting legacy for the future.”

Cllr Owen Thompson, leader, Midlothian Council, said: “We support sensitive and appropriate development and don't see a conflict between job creation and safeguarding the environment - both are really important. We don't look at issues in isolation, but in combination and we have good green credentials.

“As a place, Midlothian's much greener than people think - we've got over 24 parks, and where we have areas of industrial land, we work with landowners and others to restore sites as quickly as possible to pleasant green spaces. We're pleased to be able to sign up to this concordat.”

A number of projects in Midlothian have already benefited from support through the CSGN Development Fund including most recently Midlothian Council which was awarded £16,680 earlier this year. The funding was awarded to develop the Midlothian Greenspace Improvement Plans and carry out initial improvement works for selected greenspaces in areas of multiple deprivation in Dalkeith, Mayfield and Gorebridge.

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 Midlothian 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.