The Trust is calling for the Scottish Government to give a clear steer to planners ahead of the planning debate in the Scottish Parliament today.
The Trust would like to see planners designing high-quality, wildlife-friendly and connected green spaces across Scotland: a so-called ‘National Ecological Network.’
The Trust believes that strategic planning of the natural environment should be given the same priority as is given to major infrastructure projects, thereby making ‘green infrastructure’ as important as ‘grey infrastructure’.
Creating nature-rich and connected greenspaces in and around towns and cities, as well as at the landscape-scale across Scotland, not only allows wildlife to move around more freely (and helps connect people to nature) but also has measurable health, social and economic benefits.
The Trust believes that investing in high-quality, green infrastructure will also ensure that Scotland’s towns and cities are better places to live, and that they will be more resilient in the face of threats from climate change, such as increased flash-flooding.
Head of Policy and Planning for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Dr Maggie Keegan, said: “Society depends on the benefits nature provides.
“The Scottish Wildlife Trust believes that the creation of high quality places, where people want to live and do business, should be a priority in the Scottish Government’s planning strategy.
“Fifty years of experience has taught us that it is the quality of the greenspace that can really make or break our towns and cities.
“We know that wildlife-rich places – be they urban or suburban – create attractive, vibrant, liveable neighbourhoods and foster community pride.
“There is also an increasing body of evidence to back this up; having access to attractive greenspace on your doorstep is essential for increasing physical activity, fostering positive mental well-being and healthy childhood development.
“The Trust believes that prioritising the ‘green’ is just as important as planning the ‘grey’.
“The ramifications of getting it right – or wrong – are significant, especially as it is known that at least one child in five is overweight and one in ten is obese or severely obese in Scotland.
“We hope Parliament agrees with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and gives a clear steer to the Scottish Government that designing high quality and connected green infrastructure across Scotland should be a priority in the planning process.”
The Local Government and Regeneration Committee Debate: Draft Third National Planning Framework takes place at 2pm today.