Over the past year we have profiled nine projects and initiatives taking place throughout the CSGN area and completed an additional ten green business case studies. These have been well received with over 2000 individual downloads from our website.
As we approach the end of 2013, we thought we’d take a few moments to find out what’s been happening to some of the projects and initiatives since their respective case studies were completed.
Some of our most popular downloads this year have been our Business Case Studies. These demonstrate how green infrastructure can be an important sustainable asset which can deliver commercial advantages. Sometimes this can be achieved through an obvious means such as creating a new income stream, however, more often the benefits are less overt and savings can be realised through reducing transport and human resources costs or by keeping construction works on track and within budget.
This idea of greenspace being beneficial for businesses was underlined in the most recent case study which looked at how the implementation of a Green Network Masterplan is helping to rejuvenate the Vale of Leven Industrial Estate in West Dunbartonshire. Similarly, July’s case study explored Irvine Bay Regeneration Company’s area based strategy considering social, environmental and economic improvements. Since the publication of this report, it has worked with North Ayrshire Council, on creating new paths to connect the Irvine Enterprise Area with the national cycle route and create safe pedestrian and cycle routes into the town centre and railway station. The route of the path opens up a disused underpass to connect into Tarryholme, which is being developed as an eco-homes campus. It is anticipated that this network will be well used by commuters and local residents alike.
The Support Unit has been undertaking some interesting research this year regarding the potential for the Green Network to provide training and work experience to youth people. Two of our case studies this year are focussed upon this type of activity. The Green Action project based in Falkirk has continued to win funding and support. Identifying a gap in demand, during the Summer it delivered a ‘Green Action Angels’ course specifically designed for 16-25 year old women. Similarly, Cassiltoun Housing Association’s employability scheme has continued to make progress in Casltlemilk Woodlands. Since reporting on the project in May, 8 out of 10 participants have gained further employment. Moving forward, the association is seeking funding to extend the post of the Woodland Officer, deliver a wide range of community events and continue with the employability scheme for another year. It is also working towards the submission of a Heritage Lottery application that will bring even greater improvements to the Woodland.
Following on from last year, when we profiled the work of several community growing initiatives throughout the CSGN area, this year we were able to highlight the work of Urban Roots in Tory Glen, Glasgow. Since our case study was created in August this organisation has had a fantastic growing season with bumper crops of honey and mixed salad (much of which has donated or sold locally). Around 200 local people came to the allotments to ‘Party on the Plots’ – a day of games, wildlife walks, jam making, fire cooking, herbal medicine workshops and a pedal powered sound system.
In a similar community based vein, Living Streets Scotland has progressed the street audit model which was highlighted in the March case study taking elements of this approach into a Scotland-wide Walkable Communities project. This is funded through Scottish Government and implemented in partnership with Paths for All. Another threat to our urban environments is flooding like what happened the capital during Autumn. An innovative response to this threat is was profiled in our October Newsletter, the EnviroScience approach of using technical boreholes around urban trees and in forests to reduce flood risk has gathered momentum since the case study was created and the organisation is making progress in applying this procedure in other locations across the UK.
The Seven Lochs initiative, profiled in September, has gone from strength to strength. The 2013 CSGN Ideas Fund was awarded to GCV Green Network Partnership to develop ideas for a Seven Lochs Green Bridge. The GCV Green Network Partnership used the funding to run a design competition organised for them by the Glasgow Institute of Architects. This culminated in an evening presentation by the designers of the five shortlisted schemes on 13 November. First prize went to local Landscape Architect, Euan Maharg. The next stage will be for GCVGNP to work with Euan to assess the feasibility and cost of his proposal.
Considering biodiversity, the Central Scotland Forest Trust’s Year of the Bat awareness raising campaign was reviewed at the start of the year. The learning from this experience has enabled the CSFT undertake the ‘Better Homes for Butterflies’ campaign in 2013 and plans to make 2014 ‘the Year of the Ladybird’.