Stirling Council signed its CSGN Concordat in November 2013.
The council will seek to:
- Ensure the Green Network permeates the Spatial Strategy and all relevant policy areas within the Stirling Local Development Plan and Open Space Strategy.
- Ensure the green network is integrated into frameworks, masterplans and design briefs for development proposals.
- Support activity in Stirling that has been identified through the CSGN Green Network Projects Study and the 14 projects within it.
- Support the delivery of agreed partner objectives that relate to cross boundary areas and are consistent with the CSGN Vision.
Since signing the CSGN Concordat, the following progress has been made:
Stirling Local Development Plan
Policies and proposals in the Stirling Local Development Plan (LDP), adopted in September 2014, fully reflect the Scottish Government's requirements, as set out in Scottish Planning Policy, to promote green infrastructure, including open space and green networks, as an integral component of successful placemaking. The Plan also provides for the continuing support in the National Planning Framework 3 for the Central Scotland Green Network as a National Development, to make the area more attractive to investors and residents, achieve multiple benefits and deliver transformational projects on the ground.
The Green Network is a key component of the LDP Vision for the Stirling Area to maintain high quality rural and urban environments, enhanced by well-designed and integrated new environments.
Policy 1.3 Green Network and Open Spaces states that all development proposals will be assessed in terms of their impact on, and potential to contribute to national Green Network principles and local CSGN and Open Space Strategy objectives.
Supplementary Guidance, SG 02 Green Network gives additional details on the mechanisms for achieving national, local and CSGN policy green network objectives. It includes information and advice on:-
i) Policy terms, definitions, green network hierarchy and individual elements that contribute to the overall green network resource in the area.
ii) Evidence base and background research that has gone into defining the green network and the key references that should be consulted in developing proposals.
iii) The process and requirements expected in developing proposals, to ensure that these make a meaningful contribution to the green network.
The guidance also includes details of various strategic-level projects identified in the CSGN Concordat which, if appropriate, could be part-funded by developer contributions.
Finally, masterplans and development frameworks for strategic scale LDP residential and mixed use allocations, and 'key site requirements' for smaller allocations, make clear reference to the need to incorporate multiple benefit parkland, open space, structure planting and path systems, with external connections and the Green Network in mind.
Urban Greening for biodiversity
Stirling Council’s Biodiversity Duty 2014 provides a snapshot of the activities that the Council has undertaken to meet its biodiversity duty over the 3 year reporting period.
Wildflower meadows have been created in parks and school grounds across Stirling. The Council has worked in partnership with the On the Verge volunteer group to transform over 32,000 m2 of amenity grass into native wildflower meadows and more meadows are being created each year.
On 7th Sept 2015, 90 people from 13 Councils and over 20 other organisations, attended the Inspiring Meadows Conference on the creation and management of wildflower meadows. A summary report and all the presentations are available from the IFLI website.
The Council has been carrying out a range of forestry and woodland works. Woodlands In And Around funding was secured to deliver arboricultural works, path works and surveys at high profile sites including Back Walk, Abbey Craig, Mine Woods and Plean Country Park. This has improved access to and enhanced the landscape and biodiversity value of these woodlands. The Council funded the creation of 11 wood carvings on the Back Walk to mitigate for the loss of a number of unsafe trees. The carvings have proved very popular.
Restoration of Wester Moss (SSSI)
Wester Moss is a lowland raised bog, which is a rain-fed peatland habitat. The Moss, which belongs to Stirling Council, is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Butterfly Conservation Scotland reserve. In October 2015, with funding from the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative and EcoCo LIFE, Butterfly Conservation Scotland volunteers installed a bund and 41 plastic dams at Wester Moss that will help to prevent water from draining off the bog. Whilst it is early days, the bund looks to be working well. 40 dipwells spread across the site will allow for continued monitoring of the ground water to help to assess the impact of the bund and the plastic dams.
The Council is a board member of the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative. This Heritage Lottery Funded project is delivering a programme of work seeking to reconnect the communities along the upper estuary with the significant cultural and heritage asset which lie along the Forth. Projects which have started or are getting under way include woodland management, historical research, access improvements and the enhancement of natural and built heritage assets.
The Carse of Stirling Project is a demonstration project designed to explore new ways of working with land managers, communities and other stakeholders to look at the future management of areas like the Carse of Stirling. An action plan has been agreed and funding sourced to enable the group to pursue funding for large-scale landscape works.
11 new orchards, containing a total of nearly 300 trees, have been planted in the last few years. Many of these were funded through the CSGN Forth Valley Orchards project. The orchards contain a variety of species including heritage varieties of apple, pear, plum, quince, medlar and cherry.
The Edible Borders project saw the Council’s Land Services team sow vegetables on borders and other patches of available land across the city. Residents were encouraged to pick the produce, with the remaining harvest being given to organisations such as the Salvation Army.
Recreation, Active Travel and Access
The Council is working with landowners and partners including Sustrans to enhance the walking and cycling network within the Stirling area.
CSGN funding enabled the upgrade of the Bannockburn Heritage Trail, a key green corridor that links Bannockburn to the city centre. The route links residential areas to Bannockburn High School, Bannockburn Primary School, St Margaret's Primary School and Park Drive Nursery via Balquhidderock Wood, a SSSI and Stirling’s only Local nature Reserve.
Greenspace for Learning & Play
The environmental education and interpretation work of the Stirling Council Ranger Service is key to raising people’s awareness of their natural heritage and their role in its conservation. The Rangers run a year-long programme of activities and work closely with schools, communities and partner organisations to deliver projects as well as giving talks to local groups. 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 programme ‘Branching Out’.