Scottish survey offers breakdown of urban green space

A report setting out for the first time the amounts and types of green space for every local authority area in Scotland could be used by politicians to shape future policy, according to the author.

Greenspace Scotland charted every urban open space north of the border from allotments to parks and found 1,000sq km of land in total. This amounted to 24ha per 1,000 people, with 39 per cent of green space being private gardens.

This week's report follows a mapping project by the group last September that listed every urban green space (HW, 16 September). This latest project, however, splits local authority data into more detail to offer finer granularity, it said.

The Second State of Scotland's Greenspace detailed percentage breakdowns of types of green spaces and amounts of space per 1,000 people. Glasgow, for example, has 8,003ha of green space, of which 5,069ha is publicly accessible.

This amounts to 14ha per 1,000 people and of the city's total green space, 13 per cent is public parkland, 41 per cent private gardens and 12 per cent amenity space. The first report in 2009 covered only 20 local authority areas.

Greenspace Scotland chief executive Julie Procter said: "This breakdown enables people to look at not only how much green space there is in areas such as Aberdeen but its distribution in terms of private gardens, play areas, allotments, green corridors and churchyards.

"It gives us a powerful baseline and will help us look at the impact of changing policy, resources and trends. Two-fifths of green space is private gardens, but only one per cent is for allotments and community growing.

"With cutbacks in green-space budgets and staff, we need to remind people of the importance of not just the amount of green space but its type and quality. Local authority politicians and MSPs can use this to inform policy.

"But this is not a benchmarking exercise comparing Edinburgh with Glasgow, and which is better. Green space reflects how urban areas have evolved differently from suburban spots."

Key Findings - Greenspace Scotland

- Total area of green space: 1,090sq km.
- 24ha of green space per 1,000 people.
- 39 per cent of green space is private gardens.
- 22 per cent of green space is natural land.
- Eight per cent of green space is public parks.
- 16 per cent of green space is amenity land.
- 10 per cent of green space is sports areas.

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