Environment boost for central belt residents

The following news release was issued jointly today, by FCS and SNH:

Plans to improve the environment of Scotland's central belt and the quality of life of its three million residents received a boost today with additional support for Europe's biggest greenspace initiative.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) have confirmed extra support for the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) development fund, which will encourage the creation of better quality greenspace for people and wildlife.

The fund aims to make the central belt, from Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire in the west through to Fife and East Lothian in the east, a more attractive place in which to live, work and visit.

Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham welcomed the move saying:

"The Central Scotland Green Network is an essential element of our strategy for Scotland's long term development. The fund will act as a stimulus for preparatory work which will lead to real change in the coming years."

The CSGN aims to increase woodland cover by 50 per cent, boost outdoor recreation opportunities, improve the landscape and regenerate derelict and vacant land in within its boundary.

The fund was originally set up with £500,000 from Forestry Commission Scotland. Both FCS and SNH have allocated an extra £200,000 each, bringing the total for the Central Scotland Green Network fund to £900,000.

Keith Geddes, chair of the Central Scotland Green Network Partnership Board, added:

"This additional funding is a welcome boost and will have a direct benefit on the lives of over three million Scots living and working within central Scotland. It is a further step towards creating a greener, more attractive environment for people to live and work and will help create a more attractive environment for companies seeking to invest in Scotland."

SNH's contribution of £200,000 will also widen the eligibility of the fund. It currently offers support for the first stages of development work towards larger scale projects, including site investigation, surveys, planning and design, mapping, data collection and community or partner consultations.

As a result of the SNH funding, £200,000 will now be available for projects without a significant element of woodland planting or management, allowing more people to apply.

Funding is available for high quality projects that include:

  • Woodland creation and management;
  • the development of high quality landscape structures which support development plan settlement strategies (including --- accessible greenspace for communities)
  • the development of strategic routes for active travel and recreation
  • the development of strategic habitat networks and habitat development projects
  • the restoration of vacant and derelict land for green network purposes the integration of woodland, habitat, greenspace and access development with water catchment and coastal zone management.

Projects will be judged competitively against the scheme criteria. Further details can be found at: Closing date for applications is 30 September 2010 and projects need to be completed and the funding drawn down by 31 March 2011.

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