February's blog comes from the chair of SGIF, Neil McLean:
I think there’s a rumble in the jungle! The green jungle, or rather the green infrastructure jungle. The world of green infrastructure (GI) has been making steady, positive progress into our awareness. You are reading this blog, so it’s likely that you have an interest in GI anyway, but the gathering momentum of GI into the wider world of normal, public life is encouraging - if a little frustrating when the two-steps-forward, one-step-back advance slows from time to time.
I recently became aware of what I consider to be a significant and exciting step forward once again. Not a giant step for mankind, but a really encouraging progression and one that has been brewing for a while. The Scottish Government is keen to be green – as the recent announcement of an updated carbon target of 66% cut in emissions in the next 15 years testifies. This announcement, by the way, is “one of the world’s most ambitious climate strategies” and one that comes after a previous target of 42% was met 6 years early. The drive from the top feeds to local government where local initiatives are being attempted and implemented.
Funding from the Scottish and Westminster Governments provide funding via the City Deal mechanism and several such awards have been made to Scottish local authorities. This fund can be used to address local issues as identified in applications made for funding. The Glasgow and Clyde Valley won a large award amounting to many millions of pounds. Great! But as you can imagine there must be tight controls on how each award, and indeed each part of each award is spent.
Another strong bid has been submitted by Stirling and Clackmannanshire, and others include Inverness and Aberdeen.
Without giving too much detail – I don’t know it and it’s not all public – it is apparent that there is
genuine desire and, importantly, understanding for sustainable measures to be installed into our cities’ and towns’ urban landscapes. GI; Great Isn’t it?
With our changing climate we must start acting now to overcome imminent the consequences of weather extremes and GI can be used as an excellent approach to integrate so many functions of urban improvement all to the benefit of the community, the economy and the environment. City Deal money, supplementing other more normal funding streams is to be used to install what is almost certainly going to be GI, at least in part. GI; Good Indeed!
The hope is that sensible, innovative design will be used to create real networks throughout our built up areas that will link habitats to each other within, between and beyond existing green spaces that are all too often otherwise isolated and therein, unnatural.
A recent intention for two schemes has been introduced with genuine intent to have sustainable connected green infrastructure across a large area of one our urbanised areas. It’s likely that not all will be connected and from my experience that compromises will be inevitable, but the really exciting bit is that the two schemes together have a total of £9million set aside for the purpose of flood management – but, and here’s the exciting bit, in as sustainable an approach as is possible – in line with government policy. GI is very likely to play a strong part in this.
A proverbial rumble in the urban jungle and it’s about to happen. GI? Get In!