Scotland Climate action and sustainable development, Communities and society, Economy and regeneration

Greener towns focus for new strategic partnership

Photo by Stephen Noble on Unsplash

With growing momentum behind local, national and international action to tackle climate change, a new strategic partnership has been announced between the Green Action Trust and Scotland’s Towns Partnership which is set to boost environmental outcomes in towns the length and breadth of Scotland.

The new strategic partnership, which we announced on Monday 14 June, will combine the environmental regeneration expertise of the Green Action Trust with Scotland’s Towns Partnership’s focussed work representing and promoting the diversity of Scotland’s towns and places to deliver environmental transformation across Scotland’s urban spaces.

To do that, we will work with local authorities, public bodies, communities and businesses across Scotland in order to align policies and deliver action plans that have a stronger focus on environmental regeneration. We will also draw on the expertise of Collective Architecture, who are specialists in sustainability design, to assist with this ambition.

Green Action Trust is Scotland’s leading environmental regeneration charity. We work in partnership with many of the country’s public agencies as well as most local authorities to deliver green infrastructure projects across Scotland. The Green Action Trust formally launched in August 2020 as the new face of the former Central Scotland Green Network Trust, with an expanded remit to work with local authorities, businesses, and communities across Scotland in developing and delivering green infrastructure as part of the Scottish Government’s National Planning Framework.

Our track record has seen us deliver the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN), the largest green infrastructure project in Europe, which encompasses just under 10,000 square kilometres and 19 local authorities across Central Scotland. Ten key principles are at the heart of our work with local authorities across these council areas: grounding decisions in nature; delivering at scale; regeneration; life enhancement; connectivity; functionality and resilience; local distinctiveness which is respectful of the past; harnessing the potential of development; going beyond carbon neutral; and adding value.

This means that the local planning authorities we work with are required to take account of CSGN principles when preparing their development plans and when making planning decisions – as such, embedding these key principles in all relevant policies, strategies and plans.

Where the CSGN is a long-term project delivering transformation across Central Scotland by 2050, our new partnership with Scotland’s Towns Partnership has great potential to deliver immediate as well as longer-term benefits across the whole of Scotland. For example, Green Action Trust is delighted to be the delivery partner of the recently-announced Clyde Climate Forest, which will plant ten trees for every man, woman and child in Glasgow City Region over the next decade – creating a new urban ‘forest’ across the eight local authority areas spanning the Region.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created an increased focus on place, as people have had to re-imagine new working and living patterns. Whilst it has undoubtedly been a challenging time for Scotland’s towns and communities, what it has done is allowed a re-evaluation of the role environmental regeneration can play in restoring the fortunes of towns and urban spaces. There is now a clear opportunity to transform towns in a manner that is sustainable economically, socially and environmentally and allow them to flourish in a way which puts the environment and climate change action at their heart.

The publication of the independent report, ‘A New Future for Scotland’s Towns’, earlier this year made the case for enhanced and co-ordinated action to put towns in a position to support the country’s climate change ambitions.

Through our new work with Scotland’s Towns Partnership, I believe we can make good progress in delivering environmental improvements that can build healthier, fairer and more sustainable communities – as well as contributing to wider climate change goals.

Green Action Trust and Scotland’s Towns Partnership look forward to working with local authorities who are the cornerstone to success in delivering these ambitions.

You can follow our work on the environmental regeneration of Scotland’s towns and places by following us on social media. Green Action Trust can be found at @GreenActionT and https://greenactiontrust.org/.

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