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Review of Progress on Environmental Justice Paper 2005/37

DescriptionThis Review is an opportunity to look at the progress which the Scottish Executive and its partners have made over the past three years in delivering a wide range of work that is helping to secure environmental justice.
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Official Print Publication Date
Website Publication DateDecember 14, 2005

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    ISBN 0 7559 2878 4 (Web only publication)

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    The context

    Scotland's new Strategy for Sustainable Development is based upon the principles of environmental justice. The ultimate goal of the Strategy is to secure a fairer world and a fairer future, enabling all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life without compromising the quality of life of future generations. Our commitment to reducing the size of Scotland's global environmental impact is a reflection of our commitment to environmental justice.

    Environmental justice is both an urban and a rural issue, it is concerned just as much with the local street-level environmental problems as with larger-scale industrial pollution, and the built environment is as significant as green places and biodiversity. Importantly, when we talk about justice in this context, we are talking not only about fairness in the distribution of the factors affecting environmental quality (both good and bad), but also about fairness in providing the information and opportunities necessary for people to participate in decisions about their environment. These are the two interrelated and equally important strands of environmental justice.

    The agenda on environmental justice is relatively recent and we are still developing our understanding of the issues and the most appropriate interventions. The Scottish Executive's 2003 Partnership Agreement included an overarching commitment to "a Scotland that delivers sustainable development; that puts environmental concerns at the heart of public policy and secures environmental justice for all of Scotland's communities". The major challenges were first put by the First Minister Jack McConnell in 2002, in a landmark speech on the environment. Although Scotland has had social justice amongst its highest policy priorities ever since devolution, this speech made it clear how the principles underpinning 'Closing the Opportunity Gap' can equally be applied to encompass environmental concerns. We recognise that Scotland's most deprived communities may also be most vulnerable to the pressures of poor local environments and the most likely to be excluded from environmental decision-making processes. Environmental justice is focused upon addressing these kinds of inequities.

    We know that the environment in which we live impacts upon our quality of life, our health, and the way neighbourhoods feel and function. Thinking in terms of environmental justice however, raises challenging questions about what exactly these environmental impacts are, which underlying factors might lead to poor environmental conditions affecting some areas more seriously than others and what we can all do to make everyone's local environment better and more sustainable.

    Sustainable development and environmental justice are not one and the same thing, but in many respects they share common goals. The new Strategy will give priority to improving the quality of life of and well-being of individuals and communities in Scotland and securing environmental justice is an essential part of achieving these ends. Healthy local environments, free from pollution, flooding and degraded streetscapes, and rich in attractive, safe public spaces are necessary for our well-being. Sustainable communities are well planned, well maintained places where people want to live and the quality of the local environment is clearly a key aspect of this. Greater community participation in environmental renewal projects and decision-making will not only help to ensure that the public's views are reflected in plans and services but also build skills, confidence and social capital amongst those who take part. The 'Environmental Justice: Making the Links' section of the Scottish Sustainable Development Strategy signposts the ways in which the aims and values of environmental justice are reflected across the Strategy itself.

    The review

    This review provides us with the opportunity to look back at how far we have come over the last three years. Environmental justice is a goal that touches the work of virtually every department in the Scottish Executive; from the pursuit of better air quality in our cities, through new environmental training for criminal prosecutors, to introducing Scottish regulations to improve public access to environmental information. The range of funding opportunities available to support improvements in local environments is significant, and the recurrent theme is community involvement, whether it is in taking part in local greenspace renewal projects, or participating in setting priorities for local service delivery through Community Planning.

    The following review of work by the Scottish Executive and its associated agencies and public bodies is divided into two sections reflecting the two central strands of environmental justice: ' environmental quality' and ' involving communities'. It covers work delivering the aims identified by the First Minister in his 2002 speech and the relevant commitments in A Partnership for a Better Scotland. It also includes new activities and targets, which contribute towards the environmental justice agenda.

    We have identified twenty priority areas and progress is reviewed against each of them. The description of each priority area includes:

    • A description of how the issue relates to environmental justice
    • A boxed summary of the priorities for action
    • A short summary of the actions that have been taken over the last three years

    The next steps

    The work that has been done over the last three years has helped improve our understanding of these complex issues and of the interventions that are required to tackle them. It will be clear from the review that although the agenda has moved forward a long way, a lot remains to be done. There has been progress, but it is not all good news. While levels of recycling are up, we still need to do more to reduce waste being produced in the first place. As with the rest of the UK, the volume of traffic on Scotland's roads continues to increase. If we are to ensure that fewer communities have to live near landfill sites and fewer neighbourhoods are fragmented by busy, polluting roads we need to continue working to address these challenges.

    The new Scottish Sustainable Development Strategy provides the opportunity to move the agenda forward. Amongst other developments, the implementation of the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 and the forthcoming publication of research into effective mechanisms for delivering environmental information offer a foundation from which to develop greater public involvement in environmental decision-making, particularly amongst groups who have previously felt excluded from exercising this right. The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Bill, which has now been passed by the Scottish Parliament. , along with the modernisation of the Scottish planning system will also help to strengthen public involvement and allow local views to be better reflected. It will offer opportunities to deliver environmental justice by underpinning decisions that help all of Scotland's communities become healthier and more attractive places to live and work. In these and many other areas we must now build on the experience of the past three years to develop the forward agenda as part of our long term commitment to building a sustainable Scotland.

    Sustainable Development Directorate
    December 2005

    CONTENTS

    I. ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
    1 Vacant & Derelict Land
    2 Quarries & Mines
    3 Waste
    4 Transport & Traffic
    5 Air Quality
    6 Housing Quality
    7 Flooding
    8 Liveability
    9 Quality of Life & Regeneration
    10 Greenspace
    11 Environmental Regulation & Tackling Environmental Crime
    12 Health
    13 Research on Environmental Quality

    II. INVOLVING COMMUNITIES
    14 Public Involvement in Land-Use Planning
    15 Access to Environmental Information
    16 Access to Justice
    17 Community Planning
    18 SEA
    19 Corporate Social Responsibility
    20 Sustainability Funding

    I. ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

    1. Vacant & Derelict Land

    Vacant & derelict land can contribute to environmental blight in area by attracting fly-tipping and antisocial behaviour. It may also reflect a lack of inward investment in a neighbourhood or be associated with contamination.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Take action on vacant and derelict land in Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and Dundee.
    • Encourage joined up working of authorities working on land reclamation
    • In June 2004 the Minister for Communities confirmed funding from the Executive's £20m Vacant and Derelict Land ( VDL) Fund to Glasgow, North Lanarkshire and Dundee. Under Spending Review 2004 a further £24.3 million has been allocated to vacant and derelict land over 2006-08. The key objectives of the Fund are to tackle long term vacant and derelict land, stimulate economic growth and job creation, promote environmental justice and improve quality of life. Allocations over 2004-06 are £10 million for 115 ha over 9 sites in Glasgow, £6m for 154 ha over 13 sites in North Lanarkshire and £4m for 50 ha over 24 sites in Dundee. Work is well underway on the 2004-05 programme of activity and progress will be monitored through annual reports and the Vacant and Derelict Land Survey. No decision has yet been made on how or where the additional 2006-08 funding will be allocated.
    • In order to take forward their proposals for the VDL Fund the three Local Authorities formed 'Local Partnerships' with Local Enterprise Companies and Communities Scotland and developed Local Delivery Plans, in consultation with communities, which set out the sites to be remediated under the Fund.
    • £3.9 million of End Year Flexibility ( EYF) funding distributed to 15 local authorities in December 2002 for projects aimed at cleaning up derelict and contaminated land causing public health risks or blighting communities. A further £10.7 million of EYF funding was awarded in December 2004 to support remediation of specific sites across 19 local authorities.
    • The Scottish Executive is also providing £20 million to local authorities over the years 2005 to 2008 to help them perform their regulatory role more effectively and to identify, assess and remediate contaminated land. We will work with local authorities to introduce a system of performance indicators to enable the Executive to gain a better picture of land contamination across Scotland and the level of activity being undertaken by local authorities to address it.
    2. Quarries & Mines

    The noise, dust, aesthetic blight and additional traffic associated with opencast mining and quarrying can often impact negatively on surrounding communities.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Review planning guidance on open cast coal
    • The Executive issued revised guidance on open cast coal in July 2005. This sets out how concern for impacts on local communities should be applied to new opencast coal proposals, including confirmation that the site boundaries within 500 metres of a community are likely to be unacceptable. The guidance also confirms that planning permission should be refused if the likely cumulative impacts of proposals with other nearby developments that also have environmental impacts, such as mineral extraction or landfill sites, cannot be satisfactorily addressed.
    • Consider, in consultation with relevant interests, of how the existing extraction operations of minerals (other than opencast coal) can be improved
    • Consult on the introduction of monitoring fees for all forms of mineral development
    • The consultation period on draft planning policy guidance on mineral working ( SPP4) ended on 25 November 2005. The Executive will bring forward legislation in the current Parliament to enable planning authorities to charge fees for monitoring and enforcing planning permission.
    • Non-mineral waste from mines and quarries has been brought within the controlled Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2005 ( SI 22).

    The Community Environmental Renewal Grants scheme, introduced in 2002, has awarded £6.2 million in funding to over 200 projects, making a significant contribution to the local environments of communities which are impacted upon by quarrying activity.

    3. Waste

    The processing and disposal of waste produces pollutants and the associated unsightliness, odour, infestations and traffic can also impact negatively on local communities.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Move away from overdependence on landfill and address poor record in recycling
    • Introduce new targets for reduction, recycling and composting of municipal waste
    • Build a bottom-up assessment of Scotland's requirements in an inclusive process designed to demonstrate the need for new facilities
    • The National Waste Plan and eleven constituent Area Waste Plans were published in 2003. These plans outline the means by which sustainable waste management will be achieved over the next 20 years. £329 million to 2007-08 and an indicative award of nearly £1 billion to 2020, from the Strategic Waste Fund (at Oct 2005), has been awarded to all 32 local authorities to implement recycling and composting schemes in line with the Area Waste Plans.
    • We have set targets for recycling, composting and diverting waste from landfill. These include recycling and composting 25% of municipal waste by 2006; 30% by 2008 and 55% (35% recycling and 20% composting) by 2020. Local authorities, working together, have been asked to send Strategic Outline Cases to the Executive by 31 January 2006 on their proposals for diverting Biodegradable Municipal Waste away from landfill.
    • The Landfill Allowance Scheme has been established to impose limits on the amounts of Biodegradable Municipal Waste which local authorities can landfill, and limits have been allocated to local authorities.
    • We are committed to a review of NPPG 10 (Planning and Waste Management) and have set up a steering group to oversee this. A draft for consultation will be prepared.
    • Develop a target and deadline for all public bodies to set targets for recycling, waste minimisation and resource consumption
    • In August 2004 most Scottish NDPBs and Agencies were instructed by the Minister for Environment & Rural Development to audit their performance on sustainability measures such as waste minimisation and use of recycled materials, and to adopt environmental management policies. An introductory seminar and workshops have been held to assist these bodies in setting up environmental policies. In the course of 2005 these bodies have been reassessing existing policies or preparing new policies and procedures to meet their environmental obligations. A further seminar and workshops are being held in November 2005 to provide further advice on finalising policies and procedures and on target setting.
    • £2 million has been made available to support local authority internal waste audits and waste prevention action plans.
    • Introduce stricter standards to control emissions from landfill and incineration facilities
    • Introduce new regulations to ensure incinerators comply with European emissions limits
    • Stricter controls on waste incinerators and industrial solvent usage were introduced through the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 ( PPC). These were amended by the Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Amendment (No 2) Regulations 2003
    • The Waste Incineration (Scotland) Regulations 2003 came in to force on 1 st April 2003 ( SI 170). The Pollution Prevention and Control (Designation of Waste Incineration Directive) (Scotland) Order 2003 ( SI 204). Waste Management Licensing Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2003 ( SI 171) and 2004 ( SI 275), and the Landfill (Scotland) Regulations 2003 ( SI 235) also cover this area.
    4. Transport & Traffic

    Traffic emissions are a significant contributor to poor air quality and the noise and the sheer busyness of roads can degrade and fragment communities.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Tackle growth in road traffic
    • Tackle congestion in metropolitan areas
    • Scottish Ministers are committed to the environmental aims underpinning the aspirational target to stabilise road traffic volumes at 2001 levels by 2021, and the need to address greenhouse gas emissions, emissions which damage local air quality and congestion which affects our economy. However, evidence suggests that road traffic levels are still rising and this is a challenging target. We are looking at the 2021 target, its underpinning environmental and economic aims, and the best way to achieve them as part of the National Transport Strategy ( NTS).
    • The Scottish Executive is committed to spending 70% of its transport budget on public transport over the period of the long-term investment plan with the ultimate aim of protecting our environment and promoting public transport and other types of efficient and sustainable transport which minimise harmful emissions.
    • We are working towards a range of major rail infrastructure projects such as airport rail links, Airdrie-Bathgate rail link, Stirling-Alloa-Kincardine rail link and Edinburgh trams. We are also delivering a better deal for rail passengers through the new ScotRail franchise.
    • We have commissioned work for the development of new guidance to local authorities on local road traffic reduction.
    • The Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance ( STAG), published in 2003, provides advice to planners and decision-makers on the appraisal of transport projects. The methodology for the appraisal of all transport-related proposals should be based on the five core objectives for the Environment, Safety, Economy, Integration, and Accessibility.
    • We are committed to encouraging the uptake across Scotland of Travel Plans, which will promote greater use of sustainable transport, both in getting to and from work and in travelling on business.
    • The Freight Facilities Grant ( FFG) has awarded grants to 29 projects which will remove over 26 million lorry miles from Scotland's roads each year. The Executive has also provided £13 million for projects that reduce the impact of transporting timber by road.
    • We are also endeavouring to reduce the discretional use of the private car in a number of ways, ranging from the Stepchange pilot project to the funding of Cycling Scotland and School Travel Co-ordinators.
    • Councils to introduce measures to reduce unacceptably high levels of air pollution in urban air quality hotspots
    • Council measures introduced include Vehicle Emission Testing and provisions to end engine idling by vehicles, all funded by the Scottish Executive. Twelve local authorities are currently making use of the powers.
    5. Air Quality

    Air quality has the potential to impact significantly on people's health.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Improve air quality
    • Conduct research on Neighbourhood Statistics and Ambient Air Quality in liaison with Defra
    • The second cycle of review and assessment of local air quality is currently being carried out by local authorities. This exercise will provide an overview of air quality throughout Scotland using the Air Quality Strategy objectives for certain pollutants as the benchmark. For air quality hotspot areas, likely to fail to meet the objectives, the relevant local authorities will be required to declare Air Quality Management Areas and thereafter put in place an Action Plan designed to help local authorities work towards the achievement of the air quality objectives. Edinburgh and Glasgow have their action plans in place with Aberdeen's currently being finalised following consultation.
    • The Defra Neighbourhood Statistics and Ambient Air Quality study aims to provide improved information on the possible link between poor air quality and social deprivation in urban and rural areas, and is currently being finalised.
    6. Housing Quality

    Poor quality housing contributes to health problems and fuel poverty. Poor housing can also affect the occupancy turnover and the sustainability of communities.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Take action to meet the long term target to End fuel poverty by 2016
    • Fuel poverty is down from 738,000 households (or 35% of all Scottish housing stock) in 1996 to 286,000 households (or 13%) in 2002. The interim target before 2016 is to reduce the number of households living in fuel poverty by a further 30% by 2006 and to have achieved a further reduction in the total numbers between 2006 and 2010. Recent fuel price rises have put the interim target under pressure.
    • The Scottish Executive is working with local authorities, the energy sector and voluntary organisations to tackle fuel poverty through a range of activities. All housing association and local authority houses where the tenant wishes it have now had central heating installed with the exception of Glasgow Housing Association properties where work will be completed by March 2007. The Programme to provide central heating to over 60s in the private sector, which includes a resource targeted at the over 80s with poor or partial heating systems, will be completed in 2006. Findings from the April 2004 "Fuel Poverty in Scotland" report is the basis for proposals for new programmes which might be developed when current programmes come to an end in 2006.
    • Improve quality of housing stock, especially reducing cold and damp housing
    • Work with social landlords to promote sustainable development in housing investment
    • The Minister for Communities announced the Scottish Quality Housing Standard in February 2004. Ministers have set 2015 as the target date for social housing to meet the Standard. Social landlords are to submit their delivery plans for achieving the Standard to Communities Scotland by April 2005. To assist this the Executive provided guidance on Option Appraisal and Communities Scotland issued The Scottish Housing Quality Standard: delivery plan guidance in July 2004.
    • Where more than 50% of housing in an areas fails to meet the tolerable standard, Housing Action Areas have been a major driver in improving housing quality, particularly in the inner cities. The forthcoming Housing Bill will contain proposals for a new area-based power to declare Housing Renewal Areas. Local authorities will be able to declare a Housing Renewal Area where a significant number of the houses in an area are sub-standard, or where their appearance or state of repair are adversely affecting the amenity of the locality. The Bill also contains powers for local authorities to serve maintenance orders requiring individual houses to be maintained to a reasonable standard.
    • Since 2002 the SE has funded the Sustainable Design in Architecture "Sust" project, based at the Lighthouse in Glasgow. Examples of housing-related projects carried out by SUST so far include the 'Sustainable Designs on You' training courses for housing associations; a series of client advice guides which include guides for private and social housing; and the Dumbiedykes Ecocity project which engaged the local community, including school children, in addressing sustainability issues in developing ideas for the future of the area.
    7. Flooding

    Flooding is a potential threat to people's lives homes and social infrastructure. The impacts may also be felt disproportionately by vulnerable groups.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Improve arrangements for flood warnings
    • Consider current arrangements for addressing flood risk and how advice and support is provided to those at risk and affected by flooding
    • Consider the social consequences of flooding and how these can be reduced
    • The Executive's National Flooding Framework of Awareness, Avoidance, Alleviation and Assistance is ongoing.
    • SEPA is progressing with the provision of three additional flood warning schemes. The SEPA second generation indicative flood risk map is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2006. SEPA's annual two-week campaign to raise awareness of flooding was launched on 26 September 2005.
    • In February 2004, we published Scottish Planning Policy on Planning and Flooding ( SPP 7). It identifies the risks to vulnerable groups and infrastructure and aims to prevent further development on land which is at significant risk of flooding. Planning Advice Note 69 'Planning and Building Standards Advice on Flooding was published in August 2004. Both publications have been generally well received.
    • Following recommendations made by the Ad-Hoc Committee of Ministers on Flooding Issues in 2003 the National Technical Advisory Group on Flooding Issues ( NTAG) was set up to offer advice to the Executive. In April 2005 the Flooding Issues Advisory Committee ( FIAC) took over the work of NTAG and is offering advice to the Executive on taking forward the National Flooding Framework. This includes advising on the preparation of guidance to local authorities on developing flood prevention schemes and the meaning of sustainable flood management.
    • NTAG produced draft sustainable flood management definition, objectives and principles including those on impacts on people and community cohesion. This work has now been evaluated in a pilot study and the results will form part of a full consultation on sustainable flood management, which will be issued in 2006. There is some evidence that recent flood losses in Scotland's heavily-populated urban areas struck low income groups hardest. The Executive has commissioned a study into the range of social impacts of flooding in Scotland and the most effective interventions.
    • The Scottish Executive provided funding to local authorities and the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations in 2003-04 to support home contents insurance schemes in the social rented sector. The summary report of a 2004 review of Local Authority Insurance Schemes in will include recommendations on how we can further encourage take up of insurance in this sector.
    8. Liveability

    'Street-level' environmental problems may be no less significant in their contribution to a poor quality local environment than larger-scale industrial sources of pollution; they can have a negative impact on all aspects of life in a community and concerns about these problems are associated with poor health, fear of crime and lack of social trust.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Work with members of all political parties to tackle everyday issues such as dog fouling, litter, vandalism, graffiti etc
    • The Executive-funded ' LEAMS' scheme has provided independently-audited Performance Indicators for cleanliness of streets and pavements, which have been adopted by Audit Scotland. Work on updating the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse is proceeding.
    • The Antisocial Behaviour etc Scotland Act 2004 ( ASB Act) contains measures improving the existing fixed penalty scheme for littering. The ASB Act also gives powers to the Scottish Ministers to direct bodies having a statutory duty of litter clearance as to how to carry out that duty. Legislation to tackle graffiti has been provided for, including a ban on sales of spray paint to under 16s.
    • Local authorities and chief constables have prepared antisocial behaviour strategies for their area. £120 million is being provided from 2000-08 to assist with measures to tackle antisocial behaviour and support antisocial behaviour strategies . The implementation of these strategies should help to create a physical and social environment where antisocial behaviour is less likely to arise and for dealing quickly with the first signs such as graffiti and vandalism.
    • The Executive has set up a working group of local authority officials and undertaken a survey of local authorities to determine how the Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act 2003, which provides offence provisions and fixed penalties for owners who do not clean up after their dogs, is working.
    • The Scottish Executive published a Voluntary Code of Practice on odour from waste water treatment works in May 2005. This has formed the basis of a draft Statutory Code of Practice in April 2006 using Ministerial powers contained in Part 25 of the Water Services etc (Scotland Act 2005. Consultation on the Statutory code will take place from October 2005.
    • Provide £20 million to support the extension of Community Warden schemes across Scotland
    • Scottish Executive funding has enabled councils and their partners to set up community warden schemes across Scotland. These schemes help to prevent crime and antisocial behaviour and improve the quality of the environment in hard pressed neighbourhoods.
    • Reduce noise pollution
    • The noise nuisance provisions of the ASB Act provide local authorities with flexible and enabling additional powers, through the issuing of fixed penalty notices to domestic nuisance noise makers. The provisions came into force with the accompanying Regulations on 28 February 2005.
    • Twenty-two of the 32 local authorities have adopted the provisions and applied for Executive funding for staff, equipment and training costs. The Executive has provided funding of £4.32 million for the period 2004-06 and secured further funding to 2008 under Spending Review 2004. 15 local authorities have commenced their service by Autumn 2005.
    • The EC Environmental Noise Directive 2002/49/ EC provides the framework for noise mapping major roads, airports, railways, and large urban areas by July 2007 and to prepare action plans based on the results of the noise mapping exercise by July 2008. The Scottish Executive intends to ensure that the Directive is transposed into Scottish Regulations in January 2006.
    • Strengthen local authority powers of enforcement to tackle fly-tipping and double the level of fines.
    • The Scottish Executive has funded the setting up of a hotline for reporting fly-tipping incidents, which ensures appropriate action by the correct agency. This hotline has attracted over 1,300 calls in the first 10 months of its operation.
    • The ASB Act doubled the maximum fine, in summary proceedings, for fly-tipping offences to £40,000 and now provides for fixed penalty fines for fly-tipping, which may be issued by the police, local authority or SEPA officers.
    • The fly-tipping provisions in the ASB Act can apply to abandoning vehicles. More money has been made available to local authorities specifically to help them deal with abandoned vehicles. The notice periods for removal of abandoned vehicles has been shortened and regulations, which came into effect in November 2005 increased the charges removal, disposal and storage.
    • In January 2005 we announced a further £570,000 to support the Fly-Tipping Forum, its 'Dumb Dumpers' advertising campaign, and improved provision of statistics.
    • Local authorities given powers to inspect waste transfer documentation in the Environmental Protection (Duty of Care) Amendment (Scotland) Regulations 2003 ( SI 533).
    • £1.2 million will be awarded to Local Authorities in each year of Spending Review 2005-06 and 2007-08 for fly-tipping enforcement.
    9. Quality of Life & Regeneration

    Regeneration is about creating thriving sustainable communities, safe and attractive places where people want to live and businesses want to invest. Addressing the quality of people's local environment is a crucial part of regeneration.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Commit substantial resources (both current and new) across the range of Executive portfolios to help build safe, strong communities for instance, through improving the quality and affordability of housing, promoting the regeneration of deprived areas and tackling anti social behaviour
    • The Scottish Executive made available £95 million in 2002-03 for a pilot Quality of Life fund. Following the success of the pilot £180 million was allocated over 3 years (2003-06) under the broad themes of 'Improving the Local Environment' and 'Increasing Opportunities for Children and Young People'. A significant percentage (32%) of funding under the environment theme thus far has been spent on roads, pavements and road safety. Funds are also being invested in a wide range of projects covering recycling; tackling graffiti, vandalism and littering; neighbourhood warden schemes; improving local footpaths and roads, play parks and recreational facilities. Quality of Life funding has been extended for a further two years (2006-08) with a change to one of the two spending themes. Local Authorities will receive an additional £50 million a year in to deliver projects meeting local priorities under the existing theme of 'Improving the Local Environment' and the new theme of 'Improving Community Wellbeing'.
    • As part of its commitment to Closing the Opportunity Gap the Executive has set a specific target "to promote community regeneration of the most deprived neighbourhoods, through improvements by 2008 in employability, education, health, access to local services, and quality of the local environment" (Social Justice Target J, December 2005).
    • The Community Regeneration Fund ( CRF) merged and replaced the Better Neighbourhood Services and Social Inclusion Partnership programmes from 2005/06. The Social Inclusion Partnership programme included a dedicated Tackling Drugs Misuse budget. The CRF is providing £318 million (2005-08) targeted at the regeneration of Scotland's 15% most deprived neighbourhoods. Each of Scotland's 32 Community Planning Partnership has developed a Regeneration Outcome Agreement ( ROA) setting out how they will use the CRF and their own resources to achieve better and additional outcomes for the most deprived communities. The Guidance on ROAs indicates that their development and implementation should reflect environmental justice concerns and provide an opportunity to improve the coherence and impact of greenspace and environmental activities which contribute to regeneration outcomes. This will be particularly important to the ROA's focus on 'Creating safe, strong and attractive communities'. Communities Scotland is reviewing how local environmental issues have been addressed in Regeneration Outcome Agreements so far in order to share best practice, improve guidance, and identify barriers to and opportunities for further action in this area.
    • In March 2003 the Scottish Centre for Regeneration was established. Based within Communities Scotland, it is a hub for the exchange of good practice, learning from what is happening elsewhere, and for building on the successes of what has already been achieved in community regeneration.
    • The Scottish Executive plans to review the range of funding it makes available in the field of environmental regeneration and improvement with a view to simplifying the landscape as far as possible, in order to ensure that funding is directed at projects in a way that secures the most significant outcomes, especially for Scotland's most deprived communities.
    • In September 2005 we published Social Focus on Deprived Areas www.scotland.gov.uk/socialfocusondeprivedareas. This publication provides a wide range of statistics on Scotland most deprived neighbourhoods and comparisons with the rest of Scotland. It includes a specific chapter on the Physical Environment.
    • The Scottish Executive will shortly be publishing a policy statement on regeneration, looking at the results of investment in regeneration in across the UK and setting out the future role we intend to play in regeneration in Scotland
    • Communities Scotland encourages the use of 'Secured by Design' principles in new housing developments. In 2004-05, 99% of new build approvals funded by Housing Association Grant were 'Secured by Design' accredited. The Executive is currently updating Planning Advice Note ( PAN) 46 Planning for Crime Prevention. The updated PAN, which is likely to be called 'Designing Safer Places', brings this advice up to date with a new emphasis on design and quality. It aims to highlight the positive role that planning can play in creating attractive, well-managed environments which, in turn, help to discourage antisocial and criminal behaviour. The installation of white lighting combined with environmental improvements that make areas feel safer and cleaner are identified as reducing the fear of crime, as well as fostering positive attitudes and increased involvement in other activities.
    10. Greenspace

    Environmental justice is not just about 'environmental bads'; the presence of well-maintained, welcoming open spaces within easy walking distance of people's homes can promote health, wellbeing and community cohesion.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Provide £5.25 million of lottery money through the New Opportunities Fund to support projects designed to help communities to improve their local environments by making them safer, greener, cleaner, better designed and more welcoming (over 3 years 2003-2005)
    • This Fresh Futures 'Transforming Your Space' programme supported by the New Opportunities Fund closed to final applications in March 2005. The total grant fund available was £4.5 million.
    • Greenspace Scotland ( GSS) is supported by Scottish Natural Heritage and Lottery funding. A performance review of GSS was published in February 2005. GSS will receive £2.4 million through Scottish Natural Heritage over the next five years to deliver the Greenspace for Communities Initiative. This initiative, led by Greenspace Scotland, will be used to achieve a step change in the quality and quantity of greenspace management in and around Scotland's urban settlements, through the work of local Greenspace Trusts and partners. In August 2005 the Scottish Executive also granted GSS an additional £1 million to help fifty community based projects in disadvantaged areas across the country improve local access to clean, green environments. Communities Scotland will work with Greenspace Scotland and Community Planning Partnerships to reflect these activities within Regeneration Outcome Agreements.
    • Communities Scotland supported Greenspace Scotland's Making the Links research and demonstration projects looking at how green space contributes to the Scottish Executive's policy priorities. Communities Scotland's Scottish Centre for Regeneration and the Scottish Executive are supporting work investigate the effectiveness of, 'placemaking' as an approach to bringing different people together to develop community greenspaces. Four events held by Greenspace Scotland and Project for Public Places ( USA) were held in February 2005 to examine practical ways of "Reconnecting People and Place". Three demonstration projects, two in Inverclyde and one in Edinburgh, will pilot this approach.
    • The Scottish Executive has provided funding to BTCV Scotland for work engaging communities, including those in deprived neighbourhoods, in ' CLAN' (Community Learning & Action Networks) projects designed to improve the local environment (£240,000 over 2001-07) and work developing awareness of biodiversity in urban areas biodiversity (£380,000 over 2002-06).
    • Review planning guidance to set strong minimum standards for including public open space in new developments
    • The study into Minimum Standards for Open Space published in July 2005 will inform the forthcoming review of National Planning Policy Guideline 11: Sport, Physical Recreation and Open Space ( NPPG11), and preparation of its replacement, Scottish Planning Policy 11.
    11. Environmental Regulation and Tackling Environmental Crime

    Effective regulation and strong action to tackle criminal environmental harm are two vital aspects of safeguarding a clean, healthy environment.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Use initiatives including IPPC to control more strictly emissions from major polluters
    • The Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000 ( PPC) came into force in September 2000. These introduce stringent new emission limits from installations across a wide range of industrial sectors on a phased basis between 2001 and 2007, as well as further stricter controls on waste incinerators and industrial solvent usage.
    • The White Paper Modernising the Planning System announced that Ministers had accepted all the recommendations in the research report, published in October 2004, for improving the way the land use planning and environmental regulation systems interact to protect the environment and public health, while enabling appropriate development. These recommendations are currently being taken forward.
    • Research carried out by the University of Strathclyde, commissioned by SEPA, to explore the extent to which SEPA can take account of environmental justice within its current legislative framework when making licensing decisions or carrying out enforcement activity was published in spring 2005.
    • Take strong action to reduce environmental crime through: strengthening the enforcement of environmental law including consideration of the establishment of environmental courts and other options for improving prosecution and dispute resolution.
    • SEPA to provide more detailed information to prosecutors and sheriffs so they have all the necessary information to make informed decisions
    • Improve training and awareness amongst prosecutors of environmental issues and environmental justice
    • In February 2004, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service ( COPFS) announced the establishment of a network of specialist environmental prosecutors. COPFS and SEPA have been working together to produce a programme of joint training events for specialist prosecutors and SEPA lawyers, to strengthen expertise, raise awareness of the impact of environmental offences and improve the quality of SEPA reports to Procurators Fiscal, in order to ensure robust enforcement of environmental law.
    • A cautious approach is being pursued in the case of Sheriffs to avoid the accusation of special pleading. However, SEPA has prepared a "Brief Overview of Environmental Crime in Scotland" which the Judicial Studies Committee has made available to professionals.
    • SEPA is carefully considering the possibility for developing a fixed penalty system for cases of minor breaches of license conditions in the context of overall enforcement policy and will be launching a public consultation on this subject later in 2005.
    • The ASB Act 2004 provides for fixed penalty fines for litter and fly-tipping and doubles the maximum fine in summary proceedings for a number of pollution offences, including polluting water or sewerage systems, fly-tipping, landfilling offences and operating industrial plant in an environmentally inappropriate manner, from £20,000 to £40,000. Fines may be accompanied by prison sentences in some cases.
    • The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Bill contributes significantly to tackling environmental harm. Powerful measures include:- systematic assessment of environmental effects of public sector strategies, plans and programmes at a strategic level; a requirement to set out measures for preventing, reducing and as fully as possible, offsetting adverse effects of such plans; and a further requirement to monitor significant environmental effects after implementation of the plan. (also see paragraph 18).
    • In addition the Executive is committed in the Partnership agreement to considering a range of options including environmental courts and alternative dispute resolution to help tackle environmental crime. It is likely that a consultation on these matters will be launched in the early part of 2006.
    12. Health

    Environmental justice is a high priority largely because of the impact that poor quality environments can have on people's physical, mental and psychological well-being. The precise relationships between environment and health are often complex and work to improve our understanding of them is an essential part of addressing these issues appropriately.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Create an Environmental Health Surveillance System database of the influences on health of exposure to aspects of the physical environment, and relevant health outcomes matched by time and location
    • As part of this 'EHS3' project, Health Protection Scotland have been funded to provide data for Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics ( SNS). The first statistics available on the SNS website (http:// www.sns.gov.uk) are estimates of the percentage of the population in each data zone that live within 500m, 1km and 2km of a landfill site and a similar breakdown for those living near to processes covered by the European Pollutant Emission Register. Other data to be incorporated includes drinking water quality. Aggregated statistics are available for councils, health boards and Parliamentary constituencies. The SNS website also includes estimates of the number of people living near to derelict sites and information on average air quality for each data zone.
    • A Strategic Framework for Environment and Health has been developed and was launched by the Deputy Health Minister at the meeting of the WHO international task force Children's Environment and Health Action Plan for Europe in Edinburgh on 20 October 2005. This will explore how the physical environment can contribute to wellbeing and encourage healthy behaviour choices. It will map the connections between health outcomes and environmental factors, including the impact of the broader environment (poverty, unemployment and other causes of stress) in which people live. This new approach will allow us to identify the most effective interventions that will secure improvements in both the environment and health. It will be innovative in that it will go beyond the traditional approach of tackling unhealthy environments, to exploring how to create environmental circumstances which promote good health. Emphasis will be placed on achieving better collaborative working between health and environmental sectors. The initial focus of the programme will be on childhood asthmas and cardiovascular disease.
    13. Research on Environmental Quality

    In order to target environmental justice policy and action most effectively we need to understand which communities are in fact worst affected by poor environmental conditions and which environmental factors communities themselves judge to have the most significant impacts on their lives

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Establish an analytical strategy which will help us to fill the gaps in the data so that we may better understand where the particular problems of environmental (injustice) lie and how these may be remedied
    • The Scottish Executive, in partnership with SEPA, SNH and the Forestry Commission, commissioned research to investigate the relationship between the location of factors affecting environmental quality and multiply deprived communities. Of the eight environmental features investigated, industrial pollution, derelict land and poor river water quality were disproportionately located near more deprived communities. The pattern was more complex for the remaining variables. The report 'Investigating Environmental Justice in Scotland' was published by the Scotland & Northern Ireland Forum for Environmental Research ( SNIFFER) in March 2005.
    • In October 2005 the Scottish Executive published 'Public Attitudes and Environmental Justice in Scotland'. This study was carried out as part of the 2004 Scottish Social Attitudes survey and was designed to answer questions on which aspects of their local environment are of greatest concern to people in Scotland and what impacts these concerns might have on factors such as health and social trust. Amongst other findings, it was found that people living in deprived areas are more likely than those in less deprived areas to report greatest concerns about degraded street environments and lack of safe places for children to play. Those who believe the environment in their neighbourhood is poor in terms of these kinds of features are more likely than those with fewer environmental concerns to report anxiety, depression and a generally poor state of health. They are also less trustful of others, more resigned about the difficulties of their area, and more likely to live in fear of crime.
    • The long term strategy for measuring deprivation in Scotland included a recommendation to develop an environmental component within the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation ( SIMD) to capture the contribution that the quality of the local environment makes to how deprived an area is. The next SIMD is planned for release in October 2006 and we are exploring whether it will be possible to include a physical environment domain. This domain could be made up of a combination measurements of proximity to discrete features affecting local environmental quality and environmental conditions, such as air quality, where nationwide data are available at a sufficiently detailed scale. Scottish Neighbourhood Statistics provides an important service in developing physical environment data sources at the small area level.
    II. INVOLVING COMMUNITIES

    14. Public Involvement in Land Use Planning

    Public participation in the planning system allows local communities' views and priorities to be reflected in decisions affecting the quality of their local environment.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Develop a package of reforms to modernise the Scottish planning system, including measures to enhance the involvement of local communities
    • Consider the merits of widening rights of appeal
    • The aim of improving the levels and quality of public participation in planning has been a major theme of the planning modernisation process since devolution and is a key component of the 2003 Partnership Agreement. The White Paper, Modernising the Planning System published in June 2005 sets out the Executive's proposals to achieve a new balance in the planning system, with - as well ensuring that the system is more efficient - providing more equality, new rights for local people to be consulted and the requirement for their views to be recognised and taken properly into account.
    • The range of measures proposed to ensure greater local engagement include:
    • the introduction of new statutory requirements for pre-application consultations;
    • introducing new procedures to ensure wide public participation in the formulation of development plans, including notification of key development proposals to neighbours;
    • transferring responsibility for neighbour notification on planning applications to the planning authorities, to improve public confidence;
    • requiring more frequent use of hearings, allowing local people to present their views on planning applications before they are determined;
    • introducing new procedures to assess whether local people have been engaged effectively in the development plan process, and in the processing of applications called in for determination by Scottish Ministers;
    • introducing procedures to subject applications that do not accord with the development plan to enhanced levels of scrutiny; and
    • introducing a new requirement for planning authorities to give reasons for their decisions, and notify individuals who have made representations when decisions are taken.
    • Following meetings of the National Consultative Group, the Executive are also considering the role mediation might play in taking this Partnership Agreement commitment forward. In addition, the Executive are commencing work on the preparation of a new Planning Advice Note ( PAN) which will identify best practice in involving local people in planning decisions. The aim is to provide practical advice on community engagement in planning; set out requirements for consultation; and reflect on which consultation approaches suit different scenarios. The Executive will also be undertaking a major information campaign in the next 12 months to publicise people's existing and future rights in planning and other legislation which impacts on planning, such as Freedom of Information and Environmental Information Regulations.
    • In 2004, the Executive undertook an extensive consultation on whether rights of appeal in the planning system should be extended to third parties. Ministers gave careful consideration to the arguments advanced on both sides and determined, in view of other comprehensive reforms to the planning system aimed at engaging local people and environmental interests at the outset and throughout the process, not to propose a third party right of appeal.
    • Planning Aid for Scotland ( PAS) is a national charity that delivers free and independent advice and training on planning and environmental matters to the public through qualified and experienced town planners and trainers. PAS's education and training programme 'Planning for People' is funded by the Sustainable Action Fund of the Scottish Executive. A Scottish Executive Sustainable Action Grant has also funded an extension to Friends of the Earth Scotland's Citizens Environmental Advocacy project ( CEDA) which providing advice, support and advocacy for communities wishing to participate in the planning process.
    • The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Bill makes provision for public involvement in the planning system by: giving the public an early and effective opportunity to express their opinions on environmental reports relating to public sector strategies, plans and programmes; requiring responsible authorities to take account of every opinion expressed and to publish a statement setting out how those opinions have been taken into account. (also see paragraph 18).
    15. Access to Environmental Information

    Communities need access to good quality, comprehensible information on environmental matters if they are able to participate in decisions affecting the quality of their local environments.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Use regional SEPA boards to proactively act as a channel for local community concerns to be relayed to the organisation
    • Scheme of Delegation to Regional Boards has been amended to reflect the higher profile attached to their role in the local community.
    • SEPAs statutory Sustainable Development Guidance was published in December 2004. It includes more explicit environmental justice elements highlighting the need for SEPA to be responsive to the needs of communities in discharging its responsibilities.
    • Pursue greater openness in dealing with communities' concerns and complaints about (suspected) environmental offence
    • Ensure people know who is responsible for the issues that concern them
    • The Policy and Financial Management Review of SEPA recommended that " SEPA, together with the Scottish Executive and local authorities, should develop an integrated source of contacts for environmental issues for the public" (Recommendation 7). SEPA has since made available via the its website a comprehensive list of environmental contacts and the responsibilities of various organisations to prevent the public being passed 'from pillar to post'.
    • The Scottish Executive has commissioned a scoping study to examine demand for and possible effective delivery models for providing accessible environmental information and advice to the public. We expect the report to be published in early 2006.
    • Adopt an environmental toolkit which provides community groups with the information to ask the best questions to public authorities etc about the state of the local environment
    • In May 2004 the Scottish Executive and Communities Scotland, together with Keep Scotland Beautiful, launched a pamphlet promoting the use of Environmental Audit Tool-kits, in particular the NEAT tool-kit.
    • The Community Webnet, developed by Forward Scotland, with initial support from the Scottish Executive, was launched as a freestanding website in February 2005 to assist community groups interested in developing sustainability at a local level by allowing them to share information and experience. The Forum and Online Surgery allow groups to raise issues of common interest or seek advice. The Webnet has been progressed in conjunction with other partners ( SEPA, SNH, Sustainable Scotland Network, BTCV Scotland and Greenspace Scotland).
    • Make a comprehensive on-line database of pollutant emissions available on SEPA's website from Summer 2003.
    • Make as much environmental data and information as possible available to the public through SEPA's website
    • The Scottish Pollutant Release Inventory is now on SEPAs website. Water quality was added in July 2004. Waste water treatment works, some food & drinks sites and Radioactive Substances Act Band A sites were added in July 2005. SEPA is developing a revised Information Management Strategy to determine further information requirements and delivery mechanisms to ensure that as much environmental data as possible is available to staff and the public as possible via the website.
    • Complete the introduction of environmental information regulations to improve public access to environmental information.
    • The updated Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations 2004 ( EIRs) improve public access to information on the environment. They took effect on 1st January 2005 to coincide with the introduction wider regime of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002. They carry a presumption of disclosure over withholding and offer routes for review of and appeal against unsatisfactory responses. There will be progressive dissemination of information, especially by electronic means. The update is promoted by the Scottish Information Commissioner and by the Executive.
    16. Access to Justice

    This commitment arises from the Aarhus Convention and is intended to provide a route of appeal for those whose legitimate efforts to participate in environmental decision-making may have been unsuccessful.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Amend the law to allow greater access by environmental NGOs to seek judicial review of administrative actions by public bodies affecting the environment.
    • The necessary changes, as required by the Aarhus Convention, to give environmental NGOs access to the courts to challenge inadequate public participation on certain environmental processes described in the Public Participation Directive ( PP Directive) (2003/35/EC) have been made. The changes required have been met though available powers and by amending existing SSIs on Pollution Prevention & Control and on Environmental Impact Assessment. Public consultations on this, as part of that on wider changes required by the PP Directive, ran from February-August 2005.
    17. Community Planning

    Community Planning holds valuable potential to make the necessary links between environmental quality and quality of life at the level of local public service delivery.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Make the community planning process accessible and effective
    • Integrate community learning and development in to work on Community Panning
    • Community Planning became a statutory duty under the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003, which came into force 1 April 2003. The process is intended to result in better public services through public, private and voluntary organisations working together, (including those with an explicitly environmental remit) and engaging with communities to identify their priorities. Each Partnership is required to report on progress to the community.
    • In response to recommendations of the Community Planning Implementation Group, the Scottish Executive and Cosla are supporting a Community Planning Network to allow practitioners to work together to address shared problems, offer mutual support and exchange information.
    • Communities Scotland has developed a range of programmes and products that aim to support community engagement, including National Standards for Community Engagement (launched May 2005) which provide measurable performance statements to improve the quality and process of community engagement.
    • Community learning and development ( CLD) is an essential part of the Community Planning process. The Scottish Executive published guidance in January 2004 for Community Planning Partnerships on CLD, Working and Learning Together to Build Stronger Communities and Communities Scotland established a support programme to enable effective implementation of this guidance that will continue until March 2007.
    18. Strategic Environmental Assessment ( SEA)

    SEA puts environmental assessment at the heart of public sector decision making, extends opportunities for public participation and makes environmental information more available

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Legislate to introduce strategic environmental assessment to ensure that the full environmental impacts of all new strategies, programmes and plans developed by the public sector are properly considered
    • The Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes (Scotland) Regulations have been in force since July 2004.
    • The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Bill, which extends SEA provisions significantly, has now been passed by the Scottish Parliament and we anticipate that following Royal Assent it will be implemented by spring 2006.
    • The SEA requirements are wide ranging ensuring Responsible Authorities predict and evaluate the likely significant effects on the environment of public sector strategies, plans and programmes at a strategic level. SEA will apply to all public sector strategies, plans and programmes with likely significant environmental effects, that are prepared by the responsible authorities specified at section 2(4).
    • SEA is highly systematic and comprehensive with the assessment addressing issues as wide ranging as human health, climatic factors, soil, water and our cultural heritage.
    • SEA also requires Responsible Authorities to set out the measures they envisage to prevent, reduce and as fully as possible offset any significant effects on the environment and then to monitor significant environmental effects of the plan's implementation
    • This thorough and far-reaching approach to assessment, prevention and monitoring, along with the requirements to publish information and give the public an early and effective opportunity to express their opinion, make SEA a principal tool for delivering both strands of environmental justice.
    19. Corporate Social Responsibility

    Focus on environmental justice has served to highlight a perspective where business may be seen as accountable not only to shareholders but also to stakeholders such as the communities in whose neighbourhoods they operate.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Encourage more Scottish Businesses to publish Corporate Social Responsibility Reports
    • Since 2002 CSR reporting has become much more mainstream, with more companies now reporting on their CSR performance. There are some excellent examples of good practice such as HBOSs CSR report, which includes independent external verification of its numbers.
    • The Scottish Executive is committed to encouraging business to contribute positively to society and to spreading the principles of CSR through the work of Scottish Business in the Community, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands & Islands Enterprise.
    • Improving relations between communities and industry
    • Friends of the Earth's research into 'Good Neighbour Agreements' jointly funded by the Scottish Executive and SEPA was published on the FoES website in June 2004.
    20. Sustainability Funding

    A range of funds are available to support communities, voluntary organisations and public bodies to pursue projects to improve local environmental quality and increase public involvement in bringing about positive changes.

    Priorities in this review period have been to:

    • Support sustainable development and regeneration projects through several grant funds including Sustainable Action Fund and Community Environmental Renewal Grants.
    • The Sustainable Action Fund (£150,000 per annum 2005-06 and 2007-08) supports projects seeking to reduce environmental damage or further environmental justice. Currently funded projects include a collaborative programme of work between BTCV Scotland and Lower Clyde Greenspace for projects in Inverclyde with the aim of both enhancing greenspace provision and building capacity and confidence in local communities who will be involved in the renewal work, and a YMCA programme engaging young people in their environments (also see Friends of the Earth Scotland's ' CEDA' planning support project above).
    • The Community Environmental Renewal Scheme ( CERS) is funded using Aggregates Levy revenue (and administered by Forward Scotland). £1.5 million is available per annum with the aim of assisting community based environmental projects in areas affected by aggregates extraction. Eligible projects must demonstrate community involvement and local social or economic benefits.
    • The Executive also plans to review and simplify the range of funding available across the field of environmental improvement and regeneration to help funding reach projects with the most significant outcomes, especially for Scotland's most deprived communities.
    • Please also see Section 9 on Quality of Life funding and the Community Regeneration Fund and Section 10 on Greenspace above.