News and events News Green Network Blueprint making connections Where have all the wee insects gone? At the launch of the Green Network Blueprint Max Hislop, Programme Manager for the GCV Green Network Partnership, pointed out he’d noticed something was missing on long drives – the many insects that used to get stuck on the car windscreen. Some may not recall them but they did exist as a minor inconvenience to drivers. The loss of this minor inconvenience is now a very major issue as highlighted in the latest UN global assessment report where over 1 million species on the planet are at risk of extinction. As those insects rapidly decreased car use rapidly increased and now we find ourselves living in a country that has recently declared a global Climate Emergency. The Green Network Blueprint’s ambition is to take action on this issue but it’s not just about biodiversity it’s also very much about people. What is it? The project aims to turn Glasgow City Region ‘green’ with 500 miles of walking and cycling routes and plans for hundreds of new living spaces for wildlife, providing a tangible response to biodiversity loss and climate change. Stuart Tait, Chair of the GCV Green Network Partnership, said: "The Blueprint is a major milestone toward the Partnership’s vision of a transformed environment that improves lives and communities and lets business flourish. One of the Green Network’s major aims is to provide the people of Glasgow City Region with attractive, functional, well-linked green spaces, and this project will allow planners, land managers and developers to target resources and effort effectively." The Blueprint presents a masterplan for the creation of a Strategic Green Network across Glasgow City Region, incorporating an Access Network and a Habitat Network. One of the largest regions in the UK, it is made up of eight councils: East Dunbartonshire Council; East Renfrewshire Council; Glasgow City Council; Inverclyde Council; North Lanarkshire Council; Renfrewshire Council; South Lanarkshire Council and West Dunbartonshire Council. Access and Habitat Networks The Access Network should aid off-road movement through greenspaces and green routes. It will improve links between places people want to go such as shops, places of work and parks and offer opportunities for increasing levels of active travel, improving health and mental well-being, reducing reliance on cars which will improve air quality and reduce carbon emissions. The Habitat Network will link up existing wildlife habitats creating new pathways to allow species more freedom of movement, and encourage an increase in biodiversity across the area helping to address and reverse the damage done to the natural habitats of wildlife by decades of urban development, strengthen them in the face of a changing climate, and provide new opportunities for people to connect with nature. The Blueprint will also help Scotland become carbon neutral by 2040 answering the Scottish Government’s call to stop Scotland contributing to climate change within a generation. How will it be delivered? Partnership working across the region and nationally will be essential and a variety of mechanisms will need to be employed to deliver the Blueprint: Planned Development – integrating Green Network delivery into planning proposals. Public Sector Programmes – securing and enhancing publicly owned Green Network assets Infrastructure Investments – ensuring Green Network delivery is incorporated into infrastructure projects. Funding Opportunities – preparing Green Network projects for funding programmes Opportunities The project has already highlighted hundreds of opportunities to create path networks and new habitat networks that can create stepping stones to neighbouring assets such as the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park, expanding the region’s Green Network out across the wider Central Scotland Green Network area. The Blueprint also identifies projects that are already contributing to better access and habitat networks including footpath construction at Chatelherault Country Park in South Lanarkshire and native tree planting at Lang Craigs in West Dunbartonshire. Rigorously researching, mapping and connecting these opportunities and existing projects across the region into a single Blueprint creates a Green Network Framework that must not be ignored. We are already in a Climate Emergency and action is needed now. The hope is that the Green Network becomes a reality and many more of us will be out on our bikes, feeling healthier, enjoying relaxing green views while encountering a varied multitude of wee insects. The GCV Green Network Partnership comprises eight local authorities in the area – Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Inverclyde, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Lanarkshire and West Dunbartonshire – as well as Scottish Forestry, SEPA, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Natural Heritage, NHS Health Scotland and the Glasgow Centre for Population Health. It is supported by Glasgow City Region and is part of the Central Scotland Green Network, a National Development in the Scottish Government’s third National Planning Framework.