The ceremony for this years’ Scottish Awards for Quality in Planning, one of the Government’s most prestigious awards was held on Wednesday 8th November 2017 at The Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh. The SAQP awards celebrate achievements in planning, from the detail of processing to the bigger picture of creating places.
The four judges, including Simon Rennie Chief Executive of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust, carefully considered all the applications. Having shortlisted 22 projects in the four categories of Partnership, Place, Plans and Process, they recognised 16 projects with awards for 2017.
Of green infrastructure interest, Falkirk Council’s Open Space Strategy won an award as the Judges felt the project was great to get the community interested in the value of their local greenspace areas, and the guidance was easy to read and understand.
The Overall Award went to Orkney Islands Council for its Team Stromness project. The judges considered this was an exemplary Urban Design Framework delivering on the ground. The Council’s passion to see Stromness modernise whilst maintaining its historical elegance was to be congratulated.
As well as being recognised with an Award in the Place category, Cairngorms National Park Authority received the People’s Choice in Planning Award for its Snow Roads Scenic Routes Initiative, which was developed to enhance visitors’ experience of the Scottish landscape by creating three newly designed viewpoints.
• A document containing all the winners can be found here. • More information and videos of all 16 winners can be seen here.
Connecting People and Nature for Sustainable Cities: GREEN SURGE conference in Malmö, Sweden, 20-21st September 2017
Late September saw the gathering in Malmö, Sweden, of some 300 researchers, decision-makers, planners, and practitioners from 35 nationalities for the concluding two-day conference of the GREEN SURGE project on urban green infrastructure. As a collaborative project between 24 partners in 11 countries (funded by the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme, FP7) GREEN SURGE has produced a wealth of useful evidence, tools, approaches and case studies for nature-based solutions to link green spaces, biodiversity, people and the green economy.
Stormwater runoff rain garden in the Augustenborg district of Malmö (Scot Mathieson)
A varied and inventive conference programme combined plenary presentations and focused workshops introducing the outputs of the project with technical visits to a range of sites around Malmö, widely cited as one of the world’s most sustainable, liveable cities. The visits showcased many examples of the city’s investment in sustainable urban regeneration. Examples included integrated green infrastructure, world-leading green roof research and extensive areas of liveable, walkable, resilient communities which were developed in areas of former industrial dereliction following the collapse of Malmö’s shipbuilding industry in the 1980s/90s.
A sizeable contingent of Scottish green infrastructure advocates, many from SGIF-supporting bodies (e.g. SEPA, SNH, ELGT, Forest Research, GCVGNP, Glasgow City Council) , travelled to the conference and, since our return, we have been considering how best to pool our various experiences and photos from the conference visits.
The extensive range of products from the GREEN SURGE project can be accessed here.
Principal Conservation Policy Officer, SEPA
Europe’s best Green Active Travel routes highlighted in new case studies
Five new green active travel case studies are available to download from the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) website.
The case studies, which cover routes in Copenhagen, Hamburg, Belfast, Edinburgh and across the UK, offer a flavour of how active travel and green infrastructure can be integrated within different worldwide contexts.
Green active travel routes represent the deliberate choice to combine natural planting, greenery or water systems together with paths for people on foot or on bike.
These routes can be created by either adding new travel routes to existing infrastructure or by adding new green infrastructure to existing travel routes – or by integrating both from the start.
The addition of green infrastructure to active travel routes provides multiple benefits. These include flood mitigation, climate change adaption, increased biodiversity, connectivity and a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.
The case studies - available on the CSGN website - include examples of both newly integrated green active travel routes and those that have been the result of long-term masterplans.
The studies provide both inspiration and key learnings for others aspiring to implement their own green active travel routes.
The first of these case studies details the Copenhagen Green Cycle Routes programme. The ‘Grönne Cykelruter’, as it is known locally, work towards Copenhagen’s aim of becoming the world’s best cycling city and stems from almost a century of large-scale urban planning.
The city’s active travel network consists of over 58km of individual cycle routes which connect green parks, lakes, the harbour and university. The green routes have focused on the integration of quieter, greener, natural habitats with traffic-free active travel routes.
The next case study, the Connswater Community Greenway, provides an example of how community engagement and partnership working can create a community asset and leave a legacy for future generations.
Opened in April 2017, the greenway has become a living landmark for east Belfast, joining Belfast Lough to the Castlereagh Hills with a 9km wildlife corridor.
The greenway aims to create a vibrant and accessible space for community events, including key public spaces such as the C.S. Lewis Square, while improving the biodiversity of the city and reducing flooding for at risk residents.
The case study of the Little France Park development in Edinburgh demonstrates how to integrate active travel and green infrastructure from the outset as part of a master-planned project.
By providing connections for communities, commuters and hospital patients, Little France Park has formed an important part of the wider regional green network.
Another master-planned project, the Hamburg Grünes Netz, provides the inspiration for a further case study, available on the CSGN website.
The Hamburg Grünes Netz – or Green Network – is a city-wide urban masterplan based around green active travel, which aims to eliminate the need for cars in Hamburg over the next 20 years. Utilising a large-scale phased approach, the Hamburg Green Network aims to provide safe, pleasant, car-free routes that are accessible for all city residents.
Looking beyond the citywide scale of the other case studies, the Greener Greenways project aims to improve the biodiversity of 38 traffic-free walking and cycling routes in Scotland, England and Wales.
The initiative – managed by Sustrans - was designed to increase biodiversity by integrating green infrastructure with existing active travel corridors. The project also aims to improve the routes for the people who use them, with volunteers providing much of the groundwork.
The full suite of Green Active Travel Routes case studies is available to download here.
Rooftop garden to help new school’s pupils blossom!
An exciting new secondary school in Grangemouth has been built with a biodiverse roof garden that can be used by pupils and teachers for outdoor learning. This green roof is over 300m2 in size and will provide many benefits for wildlife and for people in the school and the surrounding area.
Carrongrange High School has been purpose built for the almost 170 pupils that have a range of support requirements. An important feature of the roof garden is that it has been designed so that pupils and teachers will be able to easily access different natural features.
The roof has a wide paved footpath that allows access for pupils in wheelchairs, and unique, hand-carved benches that allow pupils to sit at either end of the garden. There are a range of plants including the garden plants like Chives, Thrift and Heathers, and also a wildflower mat with a wide range of native species that are already providing important food for bumblebees!
This is the second green roof to be installed in Grangemouth, both through the Inner Forth Landscape Initiative ‘Glorious Green Roof’ project, which has been managed by Buglife, and is funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, and the EU LIFE programme. The first green roof was installed at a building owned by CalaChem in May 2016.
Not only will both green roofs act as stepping stones for wildlife, allowing the movement and mixing of individuals and species across Grangemouth, they will also improve cooling of the buildings in the summer and insulation in the winter, and increase the lifespan of the roof thus saving energy.
We take trees for granted in our modern urban societies.
For decades, town and city planners have recognised the importance of nature and green spaces in urban areas. Many have planted trees in city centres, along motorways and residential streets. But in more recent times, local authorities have been forced into taking drastic measures to maintain essential public services and the environment and trees are suffering as a result.
Trees in urban areas are being neglected and removed to save money for other services. But whilst it can take hundreds of years for a tree to grow to maturity, when it does the benefits it provides are staggering and far outweigh maintenance costs.
We need to protect the trees we have and plan for the future
With funding from supporters of the People's Postcode Lottery, we're launching the Street Trees Project and working with communities, partners and local authorities in Leeds, Wrexham and Glasgow to promote good practice, good communication and appreciation for street trees.
There are, of course, some genuine conflicts between people and trees in the urban environment and we must absolutely address these sensibly but as far as our city trees are concerned, once they’re gone, they’re gone - along with all the benefits they provide.
Planting more trees is a big part of improving our urban spaces but it could be hundreds of years before we see the benefits and it doesn't help the street trees that may be threatened now.
The Street Trees Celebration Starter Kit
If you're in one of our pilot areas of Leeds, Wrexham or Glasgow, you can be the first to take part as we've created a Street Trees Celebration Starter Kit to help you build community relations, ensure that your trees are valued by everyone and celebrate these precious members of society.
The kit includes lots of great resources, advice and plenty of creative and impactful ways to get your urban community as well as local authorities thinking differently about street trees.