A multi-million pound fund to develop green spaces in some of Scotland’s most deprived areas has been announced by Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Keith Brown.
The money – which comes from EU funding - will support projects like new nature reserves and parks and green spaces in urban areas, benefiting communities across Scotland.
With match funding from partners the total overall investment will be up to £20 million.
The Canal & North Gateway site in Port Dundas in Glasgow is one of the first two projects to be supported by the programme, which is being delivered by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
Visiting the project, Mr Brown said: “This £8.25 million represents a unique opportunity to create green infrastructure on an unprecedented scale and will bring benefits to areas where it is most needed.
“Publicly accessible green spaces are hugely important – especially in our urban areas. This European funding is specifically targeted at areas with a population of over 10,000 and will be channelled into some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged communities. I look forward to seeing applicants take advantage of the significant opportunity this represents.
“We all know that in June, Scotland voted to remain in the EU and the Scottish Government firmly believes that membership delivers many social, economic and cultural benefits for individuals, business and communities. “This Green Infrastructure Fund is yet another illustration of these advantages and is why maintaining our EU membership and preserving this kind of funding for the long term is a top priority.”
The Green Infrastructure Fund is looking for projects, involving communities right from the start, throughout delivery and into the future. Projects should either benefit nature, biodiversity and ecosystems, address environmental quality, flooding and climate change, involve communities and increase participation, increase place attractiveness and competitiveness or improve health and wellbeing.
Ian Ross, Chairman of SNH’s Board said: “We’re delighted to be leading on the Green Infrastructure Fund, as we’re ideally placed, given our existing work, to advise on green space and green networks. This scale of funding for green infrastructure has never been available before in Scotland and it should make a real difference to people’s lives by providing wonderful green spaces where they can experience and enjoy nature in their local areas.”