North Lanarkshire Council signed its Concordat in August 2013 and supports the work of the GCV Green Network Partnership as a regional expression of the CSGN principles of partnership working.

North Lanarkshire Council is committed to:

  • Adhering to the CSGN principles expressed in the CSGN Vision
  • Embedding the CSGN in all relevant policies, strategies and plans – most notably in Single Outcome Agreements, Community Plans and Development Plans
  • Developing and enhancing partnership work
  • Identifying priority areas for Green Network enhancement to target available resources and facilitate its delivery through the planning system.

Local Development Plan
The preparation of the first North Lanarkshire Local Development Plan (LDP) is in the early stages. The LDP will set out policies and proposals for the use, development and protection of land.

The LDP will identify the best locations for new homes, businesses and protect places of value to people or wildlife. 

It is anticipated that the first LDP will be adopted in 2017 and will replace the North Lanarkshire Local Plan.

Local Plan
The North Lanarkshire Local Plan was adopted on 28 September 2012 and has a 5-10 year strategy for physical development. The plan aims to ensure that preserving and enhancing the quality of the natural environment will contribute to North Lanarkshire being recognised as a place in which to invest, work and live. North Lanarkshire is home to varied landscapes, habitats and areas of open space, and lies within the Central Scotland Forest.

Open Space Strategy
NLC’s Open Space Strategy was approved in August 2004. It provides the context for activities and programmes that positively change the open spaces in North Lanarkshire. The strategy indicates a long-term commitment to provide accessible and high quality open spaces across our communities. The objectives are as follows:

  • Improving the quality and accessibility of open spaces
  • Improving links within and between the open space network
  • Ensuring that open spaces meet the needs of communities and promote greater social inclusion
  • Ensuring that open spaces enhance the quality of the local environment
  • Developing open spaces which promote the importance of design in creating safe, accessible and inclusive places

Biodiversity Action Plan
In 1999, North Lanarkshire was one of the first local authorities to publish a Biodiversity Action Plan. Now in its fourth edition, the North Lanarkshire Biodiversity Action Plan sets out a partnership approach to guide the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in North Lanarkshire to 2020. It details the actions needed to safeguard vulnerable species in North Lanarkshire and to protect and enhance key habitats at an ecosystem scale.

The objectives of the plan are as follows:

  • To maintain and, where practicable, to enhance:
    • The population and natural ranges of native species and the quality and range of wildlife habitats and ecosystems
    • Internationally and nationally important and threatened species, habitats and ecosystems
    • Species, habitats and managed ecosystems that are characteristic of North Lanarkshire or are of local importance
    • The biodiversity of natural and semi-natural habitats where this has diminished over the recent decades
  • To increase public awareness of, and involvement in, conserving biodiversity
  • To identify priorities for habitat and species conservation in North Lanarkshire

Local Nature Reserves
North Lanarkshire Council continues to support, enhance and maintain 9 Local Nature Reserves in line with the ‘2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity’.

These community green spaces were designated for their wildlife value and habitat features:

  • Braedale Hill, by Newmains
  • Brownsburn Community Park, south of Airdrie
  • Dumbreck Marsh, near Kilsyth and Queenzieburn
  • Gartcosh, near the villages of Gartcosh and Glenboig
  • Greenhead Moss Community Nature Park, east of Wishaw town centre
  • Kingshill Nature Park, on the outskirts of Allanton
  • Ravenswood, in Ravenswood, Cumbernauld
  • Mosswater, north of Blackwood
  • Cambusnethan Woodlands, south of Netherton and Gowkthrapple
  • Gartcosh Nature Reserve protects the biggest colony of great crested newts in Scotland. The reserve is also home to palmate and smooth newts, frogs, toads and a whole host of other pondlife including a variety of dragonflies and damselflies.

Greenspace Development
The Greenspace Development combines the services of Arboricultural, Access, Biodiversity, Conservation, and Countryside Ranger staff. The service aims to create new and enhanced environments for urban greenspace and countryside throughout North Lanarkshire. It :

  • Consults with the local community on improvements to local greenspaces
  • Implements habitat improvement projects, such as woodland works at Colzium and Dalzell, peat bog restoration, and pond creation
  • Promotes Core Path Networks for North Lanarkshire and creates new and improved paths in green environments
  • Co-operates with partners in the Local Biodiversity Action Plan for the needs of wildlife, conservation of habitats and enjoyment of people
  • Provides help to community groups and schools with environmental projects including Eco-Schools, Forest Schools and community parks
  • Supports the work of the Ranger Service with environmental education, wildlife monitoring and site protection.

Improving Physical and Mental Wellbeing in our Communities
Lanarkshire Greenspace Health and Wellbeing Partnership assists in the delivery of the NHS ‘Well Connected’ programme throughout North Lanarkshire. The focus is to improve overall wellbeing, and to improve and promote access to physical activity opportunities in greenspaces. Major developments include:

  • Mapping greenspace assets (together with greenspace scotland) and establishing how accessible greenspaces are for members of the public
  • Identifying areas where there are gaps in provision of greenspace and where improvements to sites in terms of accessibility can be made
  • Developing and delivering a greenspace diary of outdoor events
  • Providing and facilitating programmes for those requiring additional support in engaging in greenspace activities (in particular Branching Out and partnership work with Phoenix Futures)
  • Working with services and agencies in communities with a high risk of mental and physical health problems to embed greenspace activities within their programmes
  • Creating and supporting opportunities to volunteer in greenspace.

Contributions to other activity streams with partners has included increasing access to horticultural, biodiversity and conservation programmes, and establishing a volunteer programme, which includes additional support from partners such as The Conservation Volunteers and Voluntary Action North Lanarkshire.

Get Walking North Lanarkshire Project
The successful appointment of a Health Walks Co-ordinator has been a major success in North Lanarkshire. The number of people walking throughout Lanarkshire has increased. This has been achieved by encouraging new groups and supporting existing groups and bringing them under the Get Walking Lanarkshire umbrella.

A joint authority approach to health walk co-ordination is the only example of its kind in Scotland where there are clear linkages into programmes across NHS Lanarkshire (NHSL) and across both authority leisure providers. Partners also are able to provide information on the up to date programme of walks and support people in their goals to be more active.

The outcomes for the Get Walking Lanarkshire Project are:

  • Increasing the number of people participating in walking as a form of physical activity
  • Participants have improved physical and mental health and wellbeing
  • Lanarkshire residents have a greater awareness of the Get Walking Lanarkshire Project
  • Increased opportunity and access to health walks for Lanarkshire residents
  • Lanarkshire has a sustainable health walks programme.

Countryside Ranger Service (Branching Out / Phoenix Futures)
The Ranger Service is based within North Lanarkshire’s three country parks, Drumpellier, Palacerigg, and Strathclyde. The rangers are also involved with Local Nature Reserves (LNR’s) including Dumbreck Marsh and Kingshill, and the historic sites of Colzium-Lennox Estate and Dalzell Estate.

Regular input is also provided towards 15 other greenspace-managed sites such as Riccard Johnston and Brownsburn and more than 350 SINCS (sites of interest for nature conservation). Promotion of responsible access meets the Scottish Outdoor Access Code and contributes to local and national Biodiversity Action Plans.

Rangers also provide opportunities for clients of mental health services to take part in greenspace and conservation activities on referral, through the Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) programme ‘Branching Out’. This has led to participants receiving John Muir Awards following completion of their activities. Positive feedback has been received from both NHS Lanarkshire colleagues and from the FCS together with excellent feedback from clients themselves.

Due to the success of the service, there are now bi-weekly volunteer groups establishedfor those clients who feel ready to participate in activities that are less intensive in terms of support from health practitioners. The groups have been involved in activities such as path construction and general conservation tasks within country park settings.

In addition, the Phoenix Futures conservation therapy programme supports clients who are recovering from addiction. Clients on this programme are delivering conservation and landscape improvement works within the Dalzell Estate.

Overall, the programmes are so successful and popular, spaces are now limited and there is a waiting list for inclusion. 

Seven-Lochs
NLC is working in partnership with GCV Green Network Partnership and Glasgow City Council to ensure that the Seven Lochs Wetland Park vision and masterplan becomes a key element of future development plans for the Gartloch Gartcosh Community Growth Area.

Through partnership working, North Lanarkshire will continue to contribute to the development of the largest natural wetland park in Scotland, which spans across North Lanarkshire and Glasgow.

The vision and masterplan contributes to the:

  • Protection and enhancement of the biodiversity of the area
  • Promotion of general health and wellbeing of residents and visitors
  • Continuous environmental, economic, and social regeneration of the area.

During 2015/2016, our milestones will include:

  • Submitting (second-round) HLF application for a 5 year, £6.5 million implementation phase
  • Working with Scottish Canals and other partners/agencies to complete the design development for an active travel route and linear park along the Monkland Canal
  • Supporting NLC planners in responding to planning applications for the Gartloch Glenboig Community Growth Area