Making the most of communities' natural assets: green infrastructure

An information note for Community Planning Partnerships on applying an ecosystems approach.

An information note for Community Planning Partnerships on applying an ecosystems approach

This information note is for community planning partnerships, their members and local partnerships involved in economic regeneration. Community planning partnerships include local authorities, health boards, enterprise agency and transport partnerships and often involve other public, voluntary and private sector partners. They work to provide better public services and to engage people in the public service decisions which affect them. The note explains how communities and those who serve them can use land and water in a way which works with nature to sustain the benefits nature provides. It suggests some practical steps to make the most of green infrastructure and provides links to further information and examples. This note supplements the information note on applying an ecosystems approach to land use published in 2011 alongside the Scottish Government's Land Use Strategy, as well as the National Planning Framework, Scotland's Climate Change Adaptation Framework, the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, and the Regeneration Strategy. It has been prepared by Scottish Government and its agencies, with input from a range of stakeholders, as a source of information but is not statutory guidance.

Nature is our life-support system: it is essential for the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the food we eat. Nature enhances the quality of the places where we live, work and visit, and provides the landscapes and wildlife that help make these areas special. Scotland's nature underpins our tourism industry, with nature-based tourism worth £1.4 billion a year 1 . 11% of Scotland's total economic output depends on sustainable use of the environment. This is worth £17.2 billion a year, and supports 1 in 7 of all full time jobs 2 . Nature can also help make us more resilient to events such as flooding, land slides or sea level rise which are likely to increase with climate change. We need to look after nature, rather than taking it for granted, to ensure it continues to provide benefits for future generations. An environment that is healthy and enables nature to thrive is also healthier for people and for the economy. This is essential to sustainable development. What do we mean by nature? We mean natural assets like healthy soils and clean rivers, wild species and landscapes, peatbogs and woods, tidal mudflats and underwater reefs, urban parks and greenspace. Together these make up the green network of 'green infrastructure' as essential to Scotland's future as roads and railways, pipes and cables. Productive farmland is an essential part of Scotland's natural assets, but green infrastructure usually refers to features in the landscape that provide benefits other than, or alongside, food production . This includes allotments which provide opportunities for communities to grow food as well as contributing to urban greenspace.


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