Associate feature: Local environments can boost our green recovery
The task at hand to tackle climate change can seem overwhelming, particularly amidst the uncertainty of a pandemic. However, not known to many, Scotland already has the largest greenspace infrastructure project in Europe, already in motion. And it is making a difference.
Since its inception in 2010, the Central Scotland Green Network Plan (CSGN), a multi-stakeholder initiative, has sought to transform central Scotland into a place where the environment adds value to the economy, people’s lives are enriched by its quality, and nature can flourish. This is a substantial project covering approximately 10,000 square kilometres of land that hosts 70% of Scotland’s population, which is co-ordinated by the Green Action Trust.
It is widely acknowledged that ‘lockdown’ has confirmed how significant quality environments and access to green space are to our local communities. And as many attitudinal surveys confirm, safe, clean and green neighbourhoods are a top priority for families across Scotland, so our work on the CSGN could not be more relevant or important.
One real opportunity for positive change, which we want to address, is to look at the areas of vacant and derelict land that blight our urban landscape. Through temporary or permanent greening projects, from urban woodlands to outdoor classroom resources, they have the potential to create access to nearby, safe greenspace to support communities and nature, while contributing to action on climate change.
These local greenspace projects offer much more as part of a connected green network by delivering coordinated climate change action. The CSGN provides carbon capture through tree planting and peatland management, as well as improved flood management with the increased use of natural solutions such as raingardens. Biodiversity is enhanced as habitats are created and their condition and connectivity improved. In combination, these greenspace improvements are helping Scotland tackle the climate change challenges it faces.