South Lanarkshire Council became the 10th Council to sign a CSGN Concordat on 29 October 2013.
The Council has made the following commitments towards realising the CSGN:
- Through the Lanarkshire Greenspace and Wellbeing Partnership, work with NHS Lanarkshire, and other partners to improve physical and mental health by developing access to good quality, natural green spaces and encouraging outdoor recreation.
- Develop and maintain support for community engagement in the management of local greenspaces, and develop and support environmental volunteering opportunities.
- Develop and improve qualitative measures for urban greenspace that link its management to outcomes for improving public health, wellbeing and sustainable economic development.
- Work with developers to take advantage of business and residential development opportunities to link and extend existing greenspaces and paths to maintain and develop access to natural greenspace and the wider countryside.
South Lanarkshire Local Development Plan (Adopted June 2015)
Policy 14 of the Local Development Plan covers Green Network and Greenspace: it states that “any development proposals should safeguard the local green network, identified on the proposals map, and identify opportunities for enhancement and/or extension which can contribute towards:
- mitigating greenhouse gases,
- supporting biodiversity,
- enhancing health and quality of life,
- providing water management including flood storage, and buffer strips,
- providing areas for leisure activity, and
- promoting active travel.
The protection and enhancement of the green network will be a core component of any masterplan, development framework site or community growth area. Further information can be found in the Supplementary Guidance on the Natural and Historic Environment.
South Lanarkshire Local Biodiversity Strategy 2010-1015
The development of the Green Network in South Lanarkshire is underpinned by the Local Biodiversity Strategy which takes an ecosystem based approach, similar to the Scottish Biodiversity Implementation Plans.
An ecosystem approach aims to protect individual species and habitats by conserving the whole of the environment in which they are found. This benefits not only wildlife, but humans too, through the maintenance of ecosystem services.
The structure of the South Lanarkshire Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) was revised to reflect changes in national and international biodiversity processes. The LBAP is now composed of a number of documents which reflect the different scales at which biodiversity conservation work operates. Delivery of the LBAP, progress towards the targets and projects are regularly monitored. Further information can be found at the South Lanarkshire Biodiversity partnership web site.
Lanarkshire Greenspace, Health and Wellbeing Partnership (LGHWP)
This partnership builds on work by both Lanarkshire Councils to develop the links between attractive and accessible green spaces and community health and wellbeing. Originally established by the Councils and NHS Lanarkshire, LGHWP has expanded to include the two local Leisure Trusts, volunteer agencies, SNH, FCS, and Paths for All.
Partnership activity is underpinned by the following principles: community engagement, building capacity, sustainability, inclusiveness, efficiency (making best use of resources) and outcome focus supported by the national Greenspace and Health Outcomes Framework (2010) and key policy drivers. The framework provides a strategic model for integrating the management and enhancement of urban greenspace within the wider health agenda by relating it to existing performance management structures and integrating with Single Outcome Agreements and NHS Health Efficiency Access and Treatment targets.
Get Walking Lanarkshire
South Lanarkshire’s Healthy walking programme began with the appointment of a Healthy Walking Officer under the “Walk a Little Live a Lot” (WALLAL) initiative in 2005. The WALLAL project finished in 2008 by which time 500 walkers were registered on the programme along with 81 volunteer walk leaders. Over succeeding years, however, it proved difficult to maintain this level of activity without a dedicated Project Officer. Under the LGHWP (see above) a new funding model was developed with colleagues in North Lanarkshire Council, NHS Lanarkshire and Paths for All and a new Healthy Walking Officer was appointed in 2012 to cover both Lanarkshire Councils, with the post hosted by NLC. This joint Local Authority, NHS and leisure sector approach is to date unique in Scotland and has enabled the continuation and expansion of the South Lanarkshire healthy walking programme along with the development of another very successful programme in North Lanarkshire. Further information.
The outcomes for Get Walking Lanarkshire 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
If urban greenspace is to deliver its full potential then it must be “fit for purpose.” Good quality greenspace can improve urban neighbourhoods and offer many benefits to local people. The converse is also true and the problems associated with poorly designed or neglected greenspace can have a significant, negative impact on people’s quality of life, their perceptions of safety and the way in which they view their community. The Council’s Countryside and Greenspace Service has been working with local communities to improve access, deal with flytipping and other problems and encourage use of South Lanarkshire’s extensive green space resource. Currently the Council has six community greenspace improvement projects underway:
- Morgan Glen, Larkhall
- Cadzow Glen, Hamilton
- Neilsland and Earnock Glens, Hamilton
- Udston and Glenlee Woods, Hamilton
- Rotten Calder Water, Blantyre
- Langlands Moss, East Kilbride
While this work still faces many challenges it has shown that effective community partnership combined with external, capital funding opportunities work can not only regenerate such spaces but sustain improvements and provide diverse, attractive and very cost effective recreational facilities. CSGNT continues to provide invaluable support for this area of work.
The Council sees environmental volunteering as key to the delivery of biodiversity and green network objectives through citizen science and practical habitat management. South Lanarkshire Rangers have been developing this work for more than a decade, with an early focus on the health benefits of conservation work. The “Conservation Therapy” initiative developed by SLC Rangers and Phoenix Futures demonstrated the value of environmental volunteering as a component of addiction recovery programmes. Now re-branded as “Recovery Through Nature” the programme is being delivered across Lanarkshire and Greater Glasgow. Work with Lanarkshire Association for Mental Health, has established the “Cadzow Crew;” a weekly volunteer group who began with the regeneration of Cadzow Glen in Hamilton and now provide an experienced and enthusiastic support team for project work across the Greenspace resource.
While such “gateway” volunteer schemes remain important, the onus now is on developing wider opportunities for individual volunteering, so as to further encourage community participation as well as providing long term opportunities for those coming through the health based programmes. Rangers provide a support framework for community groups and environmental volunteers with newsletters, an annual training programme and access to tools and equipment. Weekly, Ranger led volunteer days in green spaces like Hamilton Low Parks are attracting over 40 participants.
Clyde and Avon Valley Landscape Partnership (CAVLP)
CAVLP was formally established in 2011 with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to focus partnership expertise and resources on regenerating the unique landscapes, natural history and heritage of the Clyde Valley and Avondale. Partners include, SLC, NLC, CSGNT, SNH, RSPB, Scottish Wildlife Trust, New Lanark Trust, Clydesdale Community Initiatives and Northlight Heritage. South Lanarkshire Council is the lead partner in CAVLP.
Project priorities include:
- Regeneration of ancient woodland in the Clyde Valley Woodlands National Nature Reserve at Chatelherault, Falls of Clyde, Nethan Valley and Cleghorne Glen, Mauldslie Estate and West Brownlie Woods
- Returning salmon to the Avon water catchment
- Developing local capacity for productive management of native woodlands to sustain their biodiversity and landscape character
- New footpaths to better link the settlements of Larkhall, Carluke and Lanark to the Clyde Walkway
- Community led reviving of the Clyde Valley Orchards
- Encouraging and supporting environmental volunteering and citizen science
- Conserving historic kirkyards
- Promoting awareness of the area’s rich cultural heritage