Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network
Glasgow City region
The Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network Partnership was formed in 2007 to develop the idea of a ‘Green Network’ for the Glasgow City Region to support the long-term economic, social, and environmental prosperity of the area. The Blueprint is based on the two fundamental components of a Green Network: (a) a strategic access network facilitating the off-road movement of people around and between communities through Green Active Travel routes and greenspace, and (b) a strategic habitat network facilitating the movement of wildlife through the landscape. The ‘Blueprint’ set outs where existing elements of the Strategic Green Network should be protected and missing elements delivered.
The Green Network itself is a long term project, having first been included in the Glasgow & the Clyde Valley (GCV) Structure Plan in 2000, and further developed and spatially represented in the GCV 2006 Structure Plan. It features in the third National Planning framework as a vital part of the Central Scotland Green Network and is written in to the latest Regional Development Strategy.
Timescales for delivery of different Blueprint opportunities will vary with some projects in place on the ground in the short term, and others taking longer depending on the complexity of the project, partners involved and funding available.
What problems did it address?:
The GCV Network was first borne out of the recognition that a high quality, interconnected multifunctional Green Network is an essential component in the economic success of the Glasgow City Region.
The Green Network can play a key role in addressing several issues facing the region such as the impact that climate change through overheating, flooding and biodiversity loss. It will protect wildlife populations impacted by habitat fragmentation, help to lock up carbon, provide cleaner air, and provide better access to green space – particularly for deprived communities.
How did it do it?:
The GCV Green Network will be delivered through the ‘Blueprint’ – a strategic masterplan, which consists of (a) a Strategic Access Network (facilitating the off-road movement of people around and between communities through Green Active Travel routes and greenspace); and (b) a Strategic Habitat Network (facilitating the movement of wildlife through the landscape), both of which are fundamental functions of a Green Network.
For both Networks, the Blueprint identifies:
– existing Green Network assets that should be protected and managed.
– where there are gaps in the networks
– opportunities to address those gaps.
The Blueprint is designed to help target resources and effort effectively, and ensuring that the right Green Network component is created in the right place, for the most benefit.
A variety of mechanisms will be employed to deliver the Blueprint, which is implemented through the Local Development Plans of the eight local authority areas in the region. The key mechanisms include:
– Planned development (as part of planning proposals).
– Public sector programmes (enhancing publicly-owned assets).
– Infrastructure investments (combining Green Network delivery with grey infrastructure projects).
– Funding opportunities (applying for environmental funding).
The Green Network will be delivered through six key components:
– New & Improved Greenspace (parks, gardens, woodlands and meadows).
– Urban Green Infrastructure (street trees, green roofs, rain gardens and ponds).
– Greening Vacant & Derelict Land (transformed spaces and places for wildlife).
– Community Growing Spaces (allotment sites, orchards and community gardens).
– Wildlife Habitats (more and better-connected places for nature).
– Active Travel Routes (more opportunities to walk and cycle away from busy roads).
Who are the stakeholders / beneficiaries?:
Once completed, the initiative will benefit approximately 1.8 million people living in the region by providing them with improved access to greenspace for recreation, safer travel routes, and reducing local air pollution by encouraging people to walk and cycle instead of driving.
It will also deliver significant benefits for local wildlife populations as the habitat network will better enable species to move through the landscape which is a key factor for their rates of survival.
The Blueprint lists the key benefits delivered as:
- a successful, sustainable place;
- a natural, resilient place;
- a connected place;
- a low carbon place.
How was it funded?:
The estimated total cost to successfully deliver the whole GCV Green Network is £1.1 billion (equivalent to approximately £31 million per year).
Delivering the GCV Green Network over the next 35 years will require an estimated £1.1billion – equivalent to approximately £31million per year. While this is a significant investment, it equates to the cost of creating just one mile of motorway.
The project is to be funded using a range of funding sources, including through the planning system (planning conditions as part of development), mainstream funding, and non-mainstream funding.
Evidence of Success:
At the time of writing, the GCV Green Network is yet to be completed, and is a long-term vision for the city region.
However, as well as the project featuring in the Scottish Government’s national planning framework and regional Strategic Development Plan it is also featured in many local development plans. The Partnership’s Planning for Green Infrastructure policies have also been heavily credited and lay the ground work for future developments to be built with Green Network and Green Infrastructure as their heart.
The Green Network ‘Blueprint’ has been endorsed by the 8 council leaders within the Glasgow City Region.
A study estimating the capital costs associated with the delivery of the Green Network, could only identify 62% of the required budget. There therefore remains a significant shortfall of funding for the full network.
Many organisations will need to be involved in delivery of the Blueprint. Funding is and remains the main issue for the Partnership in regards to realising completion of the Green Network. However, with buy in and understanding of it’s significance together with partners, that dream can be realised.