Following Council approval in March 2013, East Dunbartonshire Council signed its concordat with CSGN in August 2013. As well as supporting the GCV Green Network Partnership as a regional expression of CSGN principles of partnership working, East Dunbartonshire Council set out to:
- Identify priority areas for Green Network enhancement within East Dunbartonshire to target available resources and facilitate its delivery through the planning system.
- Ensure the Green Network is integrated into masterplans for development proposals.
- Deliver the objectives and actions as set out in The Campsies: A Strategic Review & Action Plan.
- Develop an Open Space Strategy Review and Forestry and Woodland Strategy for East Dunbartonshire that supports wider CSGN objectives.
Progress since signing the Concordat has included:
Green Network Strategy
East Dunbartonshire Council recognises the need to set out priorities and opportunities for the green network which encompasses all components of a healthy and functioning green network. The Council has commenced work with the GCV Green Network Partnership to develop a Green Network Strategy for the area. The outcomes of this will help inform related Supplementary Guidance in the Local Development Plan.
Local Development Plan update
The new proposed Local Development Plan will be going out to public consultation in April 2015. The plan contains a dedicated Green Infrastructure and Green Network policy, along with other related policies such as Sustainable Transport and Protecting and Enhancing Landscape Character and Nature Conservation. In addition, Supplementary Guidance on Green Infrastructure and Green Network is also being developed.
Open Space Strategy
The East Dunbartonshire Open Space Strategy was approved by the Council in January 2015. One of the overarching aims of the Open Space Strategy is to extend and enhance the green network, where feasible. The East Dunbartonshire green network is comprised of hubs, corridors and links and stepping stones. The development process and open space projects can offer a means of improving both the quality of the existing network or filling gaps in connectivity and improving access for areas where it is currently relatively poor. It is planned to officially launch the strategy in April 2015.
East Dunbartonshire Council has recently received funding as part of the national Stalled Spaces programme. £30,000 has been made available to help transform open space for communities through funding from Architecture and Design Scotland and East Dunbartonshire Council. An application process for small grants for communities will open in April 2015 with a second round in the autumn. This exciting programme will facilitate the temporary use of under used green spaces, stalled development sites or vacant and derelict land.
East Dunbartonshire Council recently published a report documenting the activities of the council that have contributed to the statutory Biodiversity Duty over the last three years. Highlights from the report include:
- Rehabilitation of degraded peat bog at six sites as part of the national Green Stimulus Peatland Restoration Project
- 92% of all primary and secondary schools have received an eco-schools award
- Countryside Rangers have led over 1000 volunteer conservation work days each year carrying out improvements to habitats across East Dunbartonshire
- Establishment of the East Dunbartonshire Green Gym in partnership with TCV Scotland which encourages people to improve their local greenspace for biodiversity while getting fit at the same time
- Flood mitigation work at Colquhoun Park, Bearsden, utilising environmental engineering techniques
- Over 250 environmental education sessions delivered to local school children by the Countryside Rangers
EDC Green Gym
East Dunbartonshire’s first green gym has resulted from a partnership between The Conservation Volunteers (TCV), Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), East Dunbartonshire Voluntary Action (EDVA) and East Dunbartonshire Council. The green gym encourages people to get involved with their local greenspace, learn new skills and improve their own health and wellbeing. The team has undertaken a number of tasks at Merkland Local Nature Reserve, Kirkintilloch, including woodland thinning, meadow planting and path improvements.
Funding from the Scottish Government’s Green Stimulus Peatland Restoration Fund has been awarded to six sites in East Dunbartonshire. Restoration work has involved damming of sites to raise water levels and removal of scrub and trees. The creation of boardwalk and paths at some sites has also improved access for local people allowing exploration of this habitat.