22 March, 2017
£7.3m in funding for new green infrastructure projects across Scotland
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is awarding £3 million to five projects which will improve local greenspace in some of the most deprived areas in Scotland. The SNH funding comes from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), and once match funding from other sources is added will result in a total investment of £7.3 million.
Three of the five new projects are in west Central Scotland at Clydebank, Castlemilk & Fernhill, and Cardonald. The other two projects are in Aberdeen - at Middlefield and Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. This latest award adds to £2.9 million of funding awarded last year to two projects in Glasgow at Possilpark and Easterhouse.
SNH is the lead partner for the ERDF’s Green Infrastructure Fund. This aims to transform some of Scotland’s most deprived urban areas by developing and improving their green spaces. It focusses on communities which are among the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland.
Ian Ross, SNH’s chairman, said: “We’re delighted to help fund these projects and look forward to working with our partners to deliver them. Green infrastructure makes such a big impact on a community: attracting businesses to an area, improving physical and mental health, reducing flood risk, and improving biodiversity. The Green Infrastructure Fund provides a unique opportunity to create better places for people and wildlife on an unprecedented scale across urban Scotland. It’s a wonderful chance for us to work in areas where it is most needed.”
The five projects have been chosen because of their good green infrastructure design, their strong links to neighbouring communities and the range of benefits they will bring to the areas where they are based. The projects are led by West Dunbartonshire Council, South Lanarkshire Council, Southside Housing Association, Aberdeen City Council and NHS Grampian.
As well as the investment in capital projects through the main fund, a separate Community Engagement Challenge Fund is currently open for applications. This is targetted to help organisations work with communities to make best use of their local greenspace.
Improving Scotland’s green infrastructure is a key part of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Route Map, published by Scottish Government in June 2015. The route map sets out the big steps needed to implement the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy 2020 Challenge, including restoring ecosystems, conserving wildlife, and sustainably managing land, freshwater and the marine environment. The SBS 2020 Challenge is Scotland’s response to the Aichi Targets set by the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity calling for a step change in efforts to halt the loss of biodiversity and restore essential services that a healthy natural environment provides.
The Five Round 2 Projects
• Community Greenspace, Clydebank (West Dunbartonshire Council) – This project will redevelop the site of the former St Eunan’s Primary School in Clydebank, which is contaminated land. This will be capped and then top-soiled, and a multi-functional community greenspace/biodiversity park will be created including wildflower meadows, an outdoor classroom and natural activity areas for children, an outdoor gym, a sensory garden, raised bed allotments and pathway routes through the site. (Total Project Cost = £1.55m of which the contribution from ERDF is £620k).
• Blairbeth Urban Park (South Lanarkshire Council) – Blairbeth Golf Club, to the south of the Castlemilk and Fernhill areas of Glasgow, closed in 2015, with the land reverting back to the Council. Without action, the site was at risk of becoming derelict through vandalism, fly-tipping and other anti-social behaviour. This project will turn the area into a new urban park, improving the biodiversity of the site, through landscaping, wildflower meadows, native tree corridors and a natural wetland, as well as encouraging community use through a new path network, natural play areas, allotments and engagement with local schools. (Total Project Cost = £871k of which the contribution from ERDF is £349k).
• Halfway Community Park (Southside Housing Association, Glasgow) – This project will develop a new community park in a currently underused and poor-quality area of open space next to Moss Heights high-rise blocks in the Cardonald area of Glasgow. The project will improve biodiversity, provide space for active and passive recreation and improve public safety through landscaping, tree and shrub planting, construction of a community growing space, a green gym, a natural play area and removing cars from the area in front of the high rise flats. (Total Project Cost = £2.2m of which the contribution from ERDF is £901k).
• Middlefield (Aberdeen City Council) – This project will develop greenspace in the Middlefield area of Aberdeen. The current area of low-amenity grass will be converted into a mix of habitats which include trees, wildflower meadows grassland, as well as returning the burn that runs through the site to a more natural state. The latter will also reduce the flood risk in the Middlefield area and further downstream. There will be new footpath and cycling routes across the site, as well as exercise trails and formal and informal play areas. (Total Project Cost = £1.1m of which the contribution from ERDF is £427k).
• Foresterhill Campus, Aberdeen (NHS Grampian) – The Foresterhill campus is the site of Aberdeen’s main hospitals, as well as the medical school and medical science departments of the University of Aberdeen. The site has developed incrementally over many decades without a clear masterplan for its overall layout and design. As a result, it has limited greenspace, no clear pedestrian or cycling routes through the site and large road, car park and other hard surfaces which accelerate surface run-off and increase flood risks downstream. This project aims to begin to address these deficiencies by creating a new ‘destination green space’ in the western part of the site (close to a new health centre), with tree planting, new paths to create a better network across the site, and water storage basins and linear water storage features to reduce run-off. The proposal fits with wider aspirations to improve the environment of the overall NHS estate. (Total Project Cost = £1.6m of which the ERDF Contribution is £660k).
- Dominic Shann
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