International Urban Trees Research Conference - call for papers

Organisers of the International Urban Trees Research Conference have launched a call for papers to help inform their upcoming event on ‘trees as infrastructure’. They are interested in presenting either original research papers or case studies which relate to innovation; governance and planning; natural capital; or collaboration. The deadline for submissions is 26 July. For more details, click here.

Green Space Index provides robust national quantity data

The quantity and distribution of publicly accessible green space has been mapped, for the first time, by charity Fields in Trust. The data shows that there are 216,000 hectares of public green space across the UK, but 2.6 million people live further than a 10-minute walk from their nearest space. The data will be updated annually, meaning for the first time it will be possible to track trends in the provision of parks and green spaces – and, potentially their loss to development – across the UK. For more details, click here.

Committee on Climate Change 'net zero' report

The Committee on Climate Change has listed mass afforestation among a package of reforms which would help the UK become carbon neutral within the next 30 years. In a new report created at the request of the government, the group calls for law makers to introduce a mandatory target for 'net zero' carbon emissions by 2050, a move which would end the country's contribution to global warming. In order to reach the target, the report says, the government would need to plant 30,000 hectares of trees each year and restore 55% of peatland to a good condition (up from 25% now) as a way to draw carbon from the atmosphere. The government has so far refused to say whether or not it will adopt the target. For more details, click here.

Fernbrae Meadows

Fernbrae Meadows is a project funded by the SNH Green Infrastructure Fund. The project is transforming a former private golf course in South Lanarkshire into a new urban park. It will be the catalyst and centrepiece for a master planning exercise to regenerate the immediate area including new housing and access routes to the wider greenspace of Cathkin Park and the Commonwealth Games cycling facility.
 
The closure of Blairbeth Golf Club in 2015 was bad news for golfers and ultimately for locals, as the site became a magnet for anti-social behaviour. Following community consultations, South Lanarkshire Council applied to the Fund and got the green light for their project. The 20-hectare site has been renamed Fernbrae Meadows at the suggestion of the local community. As it borders Cathkin to the east, Fernhill to the south, and Castlemilk to the west, it has huge potential to be visited by many people and to connect hitherto distinct communities. 

Claire Thompson who is involved in the Fernbrae Meadows Friends Group said “It’s been so lovely to see the site develop over the past year, and every new addition is a pleasant surprise! It’s a beautiful, calm space, and we are so lucky to have it. I’m really looking forward to the future of Fernbrae Meadows!”

Local people are seizing the opportunity to use the park for a range of activities including health walks and school visits. Despite the project only being part complete, in spring and summer 2018, over two-dozen community events were held in the Meadows – the next event is a big summer event on 22 June.

Ian Rennick, Head of Structural Funds Projects, SNH said “It is great to have seen this project take shape and the way it has been embraced by the local community. It clearly has environmental benefits, but it has many economic and social benefits too. We’ll be promoting the lessons learned to encourage greater investment in projects of this type in future.” 
 
Find out more about the project 

Tackling air pollution with green infrastructure

The Mayor of London has launched a guide summarising best practice in using green infrastructure to tackle air pollution. Based on the Greater London Authority's (GLA) own use of trees and hedges to tackle dangerous levels of pollution in the capital, the document illustrates how best to install green infrastructure based on a street's layout. For more details, click here.