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Green infrastructure

Young people were the theme of yesterday’s Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) Forum, which I attended with our friends at Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Despite Storm Hector’s best efforts, 200 or so delegates attended at Glasgow Caledonian University’s impressive Hamish Wood Building.

For the last six months, we’ve been working with SNH on researching the barriers to green infrastructure (things like green roofs, living walls, trees, community growing spaces, and Sustainable Urban Drainage systems) in social housing.  It’s been a fascinating piece of work involving a lot of background research, dozens of interviews, three workshops, two process maps, and an online survey.

Yesterday it was launched by Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary  for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.  You can read it here:

The Cabinet Secretary also mentioned that, in consultation with COSLA, a new SG health initiative had been issued with six new health priorities to make a Scotland where we:

  • live in vibrant, healthy and safe places and communities
  • flourish in our early years
  • have good mental health
  • reduce the use of harm from alcohol, tobacco and other drugs
  • have a sustainable inclusive economy with equality of outcomes for all
  • eat well, have a healthy weight and are physically active.

We couldn’t agree more with these priorities:  not only does our report highlight significant benefits from including green infrastructure in social housing developments, it also evidences that green infrastructure can help to meet these health priorities, and it stresses the preventative spend advantages from doing so to other parts of the wider Scottish public sector.

With a continued financial squeeze, an ageing population and increasing demand all putting larger strain on our public services, green infrastructure is a very cost effective way of improving lives and addressing health inequalities.

Researching and writing a report is relatively simple compared to implementing the recommendations across multiple public organisations but we would advocate the inclusion of green infrastructure in social housing most enthusiastically.  If we don’t, it won’t be just us that will be poorer off, it will be our children and their children.

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