A Blue-Green Scottish Future

Scotland’s Green Infrastructure Strategic Intervention Fund is leading the way in enhancing ‘blue’ and ‘green’ features across Scotland’s urban environment, resulting in multiple benefits and contributing to the quality of life in urban areas.

By Robert C. Brears

The Green Infrastructure Fund is primarily a capital fund aimed at improvements to green infrastructure, with the aim of delivering a minimum of 15 substantial projects across Scotland or create at least 140 hectares of urban green infrastructure by 2023. With the latest funding round closing at the end of January 2019, eligible projects must:

· Improve the quality and accessibility of greenspace through the creation of new, additional functionality in existing or new natural and semi-natural habitats and/or

· Improve the environmental quality and performance or increase the provision of ecosystem services through creating or retrofitting urban greening, particularly where water and urban climate management benefits are integrated and/or

· Support greater participation in use or management of greenspace, increase physical activity, and understanding of nature among a more diverse range of the population and/or

· Increase economic attractiveness and health benefits by reducing the impact of derelict land and increasing opportunities for recreation and

· Reduce inequalities by ensuring disadvantaged groups benefit from greenspace and green infrastructure through activities and engagement

Blue-Green Scotland

In the context of managing water, applications to the Green Infrastructure Fund can be made for projects that include surface water management, river restoration, and mitigation of flood risk through naturalized sustainable drainage schemes that treat runoff and help manage diffuse pollution, and improvements to the permeability of the public environment through green roofs, green walls, rain gardens, ponds, and swales. To date, a range of projects have received funding for such BGI initiatives including:

Canal and North Gateway

The Glasgow City Council’s Canal and North Gateway project will become an exemplary example of how Blue-Green Infrastructure can underpin regeneration. The project has two parts to it: The Clay Pits Local Nature Reserve (LNR) project will change a 10-hectare derelict site into a local nature reserve with a variety of features including a barrier-free path and boardwalk network, mountain bike trail, disable access fishing pegs, redesigned gateway entrances, and a feature canal pedestrian bridge. The other part of the project will provide the surface water drainage solution for the regeneration of key vacant and derelict sites by dynamically managing the water level in the canal to provide flood storage.


10,000 Raingardens for Scotland

The Central Scotland Green Network Trust has received funding for its 10,000 Raingardens for Scotland (Glasgow pilot). Modeled on similar successful projects in Melbourne, Philadelphia, and Portland, the initiative aims to establish raingardens as a standard method for dealing with surface water, flood alleviation, and greenspace creation within Scotland. The Glasgow Pilot Project is the first phase of the National campaign and will begin the process by raising awareness of raingardens as a concept, a feasible option, and a solution to water management. It will focus on community and public engagement to move into Phase 2, which involves developing raingarden plans and designs, disseminating and promoting guidance on creating small-scale raingardens, and gathering real data on the effectiveness of a range of raingardens in the Scottish environment.

The take-out

To mainstream Blue-Green Infrastructure, Scotland is funding iconic projects that enhance resilience to climatic extremes, restore nature, and educate the public on the benefits of nature-based solutions.

***Join the new LinkedIn Group ‘Blue-Green Infrastructure at: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/10412555/

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