£8 million nature boost for urban communities


A PUBLIC body has announced funding to help people nature thrive in the most deprived areas of Scotland

The Scottish Natural Heritages’ new £8 million will support seven major projects in cities and towns across the central belt.

The ambitious Green Infrastructure Fund aims to tackle the socio-economic issues such as high unemployment and poor health.

As well as mitigate the impacts of climate change through creating and improving greenspaces in urban communities.

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The latest projects will improve habitats and biodiversity, transform derelict land, tackle flood risk and create new active travel routes, community gardens and play areas in Glasgow, Bishopbriggs and Dunfermline.

The Green Infrastructure Fund is part of the Scottish Government’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) programme and is being delivered in two phases.

Projects that were successful in the first phase of funding are already well underway and include seven major capital infrastructure schemes and 12 community engagement projects.

When match funding is included, the overall programme is expected to reach £40m.

Announcing the funding, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “This investment will bring significant benefits to communities across seven more urban areas, repurposing and revitalising land to create green spaces and infrastructure which will not only make communities more attractive for people to live and work in, but also attract jobs, businesses and further investment.

“Crucially, this funding will also help address the impacts of climate change by improving biodiversity, managing flood risk, and reducing pollution, while promoting new low carbon lifestyle choices and active transport options in the heart of our communities.”

SNH Chief Executive Francesca Osowska marked the announcement with a visit to the Edinburgh Shoreline project, one of the successful community engagement projects from the first phase, to see the transformation this funding is already bringing about.

She said: “We know that connecting people with nature makes them happier and healthier and it’s great to see this funding delivering that in our most deprived areas.

“In addition to the many social and economic benefits, improving our urban greenspace can also help us adapt to and mitigate climate change.

“This funding will help us create a nature-rich future for everyone in Scotland, part of the solution to the climate emergency facing us all.”