Scotland’s leading wildlife charity has urged North Lanarkshire Council (NLC) to take a green approach to the expansion of Cumbernauld and ensure that communities have greenspaces to enjoy.
The Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT) today (Friday 27 November 2009) submitted a response to the Council’s consultation on the town’s “community growth areas.” According to figures from NLC, North Lanarkshire needs over 6,000 new homes but the Trust is pushing for the significant people and wildlife benefits of parks and gardens to be recognised in future expansion plans.
Jonny Hughes Director of Conservation at the Trust said “Developments that disregard the importance of well designed greenspaces do so at their peril – getting the natural environment right in and around new developments is crucial if we are to create vibrant and attractive communities. All too often our town and cities are becoming disconnected from nature with negative outcomes. Nature is good for people and must be a key consideration in the planning and design of the new growth areas.”
Maggie Keegan, SWT’s Conservation Officer who recently met Council planners on the site to discuss the proposals added “Not only does greenspace improve people’s quality of life, it can increase community pride in the local neighbourhood, provide pleasant walking routes on people’s doorsteps and boost the economy by attracting investment. Greenspaces are also known to reduce the risk of flooding by soaking up rainfall and slowing the flow of water, something that with climate change will become increasingly important.”
SWT owns around a third of the greenspaces in Cumbernauld including Forest Wood, Luggiebank Wood and Cumbernauld Glen. This green townscape, covering over 300 hectares, is home to ancient woodland, meadow and riverbanks bursting with wildlife, all within the boundary of Cumbernauld. Theseprovide valuable recreational space for local people and are regularly used by walkers, cyclists and horse riders. Cumbernauld Glen is also home to Scotland’s longest urban mountain bike trail.
Once the consultation closes today, NLC will consider all the comments received and if these should affect the outline plans for the community growth areas.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. SWT is the largest voluntary body working for all the wildlife of Scotland, representing more than 35,000 members who care for wildlife and the environment. SWT seeks to raise public awareness of threatened habitats and species and manages over 120 reserves Scotland-wide.
2. SWT receives financial assistance and support from Scottish Natural Heritage and the People’s Postcode Lottery.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Clara Govier, SWT
Tel: 0131 312 4747