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Planning ahead to support healthy lifestyles

"Environments that encourage people to walk and cycle more and drive less will have positive impacts on health through increased physical activity and on climate change through an associated reduction in emissions" NHS Scotland

Planning helps to improve Scotland's natural environments. A healthy environment adds value to places, attracting businesses and improving social and economic outcomes for residents and visitors. Planning can shape the impact which development has on the environment and help to mitigate against issues such as flooding and air pollution. It can also promote ways of working which actively improve the environment in which people in Scotland live, work and play.

Central Scotland Green Network

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The Central Scotland Green Network Vision: 'By 2050, Central Scotland has been transformed into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where people's lives are enriched by its quality'.

The Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN) is part of the National Planning Framework and aims to guide development that contributes to a sustainable economic future. Its scope is long-term, all-encompassing and rooted in seeing healthy, successful places created. Its national status helps to prioritise the consideration of greenspace in plans for development. 

Planning's influence means we are promoting walking and cycling and supporting communities by ensuring new development enhances the use of existing assets, like parks and canals.

In addition, new outdoor spaces such as the Woodlands Community Garden in Glasgow, are helping to improve access to greenspaces. This project has created an outdoor community centre and facilitated local environmental improvements.

The Central Scotland Green Network's Community Project Fund gives community trusts responsibility for designing and making small scale changes to greenspace which add value, contributing to the CSGN Vision.

Widespread involvement – including from partners, developers and even external charities – plus technological advances and a willingness by communities to engage, could increase the rate of change at which green improvements are made. Ultimately, the transformed spaces will help enable people to lead healthier lives and benefit from a better quality of life.

With a future destined for healthier living, with more walking, cycling and recreation opportunities, improving green infrastructure is vital. The Central Scotland Green Network – in which planners are playing a key role – is a success story for achieving these aims and addressing environmental pressures.

We are asking MSPs to support the introduction of a statutory Chief Planning Officer in Local Authorities. This would help to embed a proactive 'whole place' approach to investment and service delivery in local government.