In order to ensure effort and resources for Green network delivery are targeted effectively, creating or enhancing the right Green Network component in the right place, a strategic masterplan is required which will guide partner action.
The GCV Green Network Blueprint will provide that guidance.
The Blueprint incorporates both fundamental functions of a Green Network: facilitating the off-road movement of people around and between communities and; facilitating the movement of species between habitat patches through the landscape.
Initially the two Green Network functions of people movement (Access Network) and species movement (Habitat Network) are considered separately before being brought together to create the Green Network Blueprint.
The Access Network
The underpinning principle for the Access Network is that as far as is possible the Green Network should aid off-road movement, connecting people to places they want to go such shops, schools and transport hubs, to places of work and places for recreation such as parks.
The starting point is therefore to identify strategic locations, or “nodes”, across the city region where people migrate to and from on a daily basis including town, village and community centres, retail and business parks and attractions such as country parks.
These nodes are then linked by “notional” Access Network connections to highlight the key routes that people are likely to use and where the Green Network can play an important role in changing the way people make that journey.
Each connection is then assessed to identify which Green Network components exist and need to be protected, which need to be enhanced, where there are gaps and what opportunities might exist to address the gaps. The assessment comprises desk based GIS analysis of greenspace and paths data and a site visit.
The process results in a series of actions identified for each connection which, when aggregated up, creates an action plan for delivery of a city region wide Access Network.
Defining the Access Network draws on earlier Partnership work such as the Greenspace Quality Guidance and the production of greenspace audits with local authority partners.
The Habitat Network
The underpinning principle for the Habitat Network is that habitat patches of all types should be of a sufficient size and quality to support species which live there and, that the patches should be close enough together so that species can move easily between them.
Habitat data is analysed using GIS based tools to understand the current situation in terms of extent, patch size, in some cases quality and the degree to which patches are functionally connected. This doesn’t mean habitat patches have to be physically connected, for example via hedgerows or rivers, but that they are close enough that species can move freely between them and there are no barriers to movement.
More importantly the analysis identifies locations where key network habitat patches should be protected and enhanced and where new habitat should be created to get the greatest return in terms of habitat connectivity for the investment.
The analysis results in a series of actions across the city region which collectively would deliver a strategic Habitat Network.
Defining the Habitat Network draws on earlier Partnership work such as the Integrated Habitat Network Model and Rural Opportunities Mapping for East Dunbartonshire.
The Green Network Blueprint
The final stage in the process integrates the Access and Habitat Networks together to identify areas of correlation. These locations represent opportunities where action and investment have the potential to return multiple Green Network benefits and deliver a key component of the strategic Green Network.
The outputs from the Blueprint work will comprise a series of maps based on the analysis described above with associated action plans setting out short, medium and long-term actions for delivery.
As well as guiding where the Partnership will target future effort and resources, the outputs will be promoted to partners, and in particular local authorities, with the aim of embedding the required actions in plans, strategies and work programmes.
Over the coming months the Partnership will: