The Green Infrastructure Strategic Intervention (GISI) is a unique opportunity to create and improve multifunctional green infrastructure on a major scale in Scotland’s towns and cities. It contributes towards dealing with the climate emergency, being central to adaptation and mitigation.
NatureScot is the Lead Partner of the GISI, showing that we can deliver a funding programme of this scale successfully. We have allocated over £15m from the European Regional Development Fund, to projects which with match funding means an overall programme of projects of £40m.
The first GIF projects started delivery in 2016 and all will complete by June 2023 (as will the related GI CEF projects). These are having a positive impact in terms of being well used by their communities, contributing to our key objectives around connecting people and nature, contributing to the health and well-being agenda, encouraging connectivity and attracting positive feedback from the range of partners we worked with.
We are leading the way in demonstrating green infrastructure’s key role in tackling issues we face in many of our urban areas - declining economic growth, social inequalities, pollution, flooding, noise, areas of multiple deprivation, health problems and limited biodiversity. The projects we support are demonstrating what can be achieved and contribute to best practice.
Investing in multifunctional green infrastructure delivers multiple benefits:
- Nature, biodiversity and ecosystems – increasing biodiversity, restoring ecosystems functions, improving livelihoods and quality of life in areas, creating habitat networks
- Environmentally – helping to adapt and mitigate climate change, improve air and water quality, improve ecological status of water bodies, manage surface water run-off and reduce flooding.
- Involving communities and increasing participation – providing a community resource that is inclusive and free to use, is a focal point that brings people together and reduces isolation, has been shown to make a significant difference to people’s physical and mental health and improves employability through the skills and confidence gained from volunteering and community action;
- Increasing place attractiveness and competitiveness – attracting businesses and increasing inward investment, raising property values and bringing visitors who spend to the area;
- Improving health and well-being – greenspace becomes a central feature in people’s lives. Communities enjoy health and well-being benefits. Increased contact with nature helps people’s mental and physical health. Healthcare professionals have the ability to prescribe use of greenspaces increasingly.
We will work with project partners and research institutions to demonstrate the added value of the work done and to use the findings to strengthen the case for investing in multifunctional green infrastructure in future. 'Grass-roots' evaluation, speaking directly to the people who live near, use and will benefit from the sites, will show the impact at local as well as strategic levels. This will develop the evidence base, case studies and personal stories showing the difference that's made to people's lives.
The multi-functional nature of Green Infrastructure allows it to target multiple policy areas at once, making it relevant to the climate emergency, green recovery and sustainable development goals.