A new phase of Cumbernauld Living Landscape, an ambitious partnership initiative with an ecosystem approach to land management, is set to begin thanks to funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Led by the Scottish Wildlife Trust, the Nurturing Natural Connections project will further enhance, restore and reconnect vital green spaces across Cumbernauld, following an initial one-year development grant of £181,200. The development phase forms part of a six-year project to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change across the town’s green spaces and watercourses.

Tracy Lambert, Nurturing Natural Connections Project Manager, Scottish Wildlife Trust, is delighted with the funding news. She said: “Cumbernauld is an incredibly green town but one which is under threat from climate change and biodiversity loss. Wildlife habitats continue to be gradually lost due to new urban developments and, as with many other places across the country, we’re experiencing wildly fluctuating weather conditions. Cumbernauld’s rivers, ponds, peatlands, woodlands, parks and gardens are all important places for wildlife and people, so it’s vital that we make them more resilient to these changes.

“With thanks to players of the National Lottery, this next year will help us to build the case for a longer term project that aims to create, enhance, restore and protect these vital green and blue spaces and involve people in enjoying, learning about and caring for them too.”

Nurturing Natural Connections will build on more than a decade of successful partnership working in Cumbernauld to date. The previous four-year project completed last year and resulted in the planting of over 13,000 native trees; management of more than 4 hectares of wildflower meadows; removal of 950 large sacks of litter; restoration of approximately 5 hectares of peatbog; improvement of 3 kilometres of paths; attendance of more than 6,000 people to educational workshops, wellbeing sessions and practical conservation days; and 960 hours of local volunteers’ time to carry out conservation tasks. A video from this previous phase of works can be viewed at cumbernauldlivinglandscape.org.uk/watch-our-creating-natural-connections-video/

Hayley Andrew, Community Greenspace Manager for North Lanarkshire Council, said: “We are delighted to be a partner in this next development phase. It‘s set to build on the success of the previous phase where projects on Council land saw vast improvements to access routes and habitats to connect the people of Cumbernauld with their wonderful natural surroundings. During the development year, we will be suggesting areas for future project delivery to enhance even more of our green spaces for people and nature over the next five years if further funding for delivery is secured”.

Pat Cahill, Director of Sanctuary Scotland, said: “Sanctuary Scotland is delighted to be a partner and contributing organisation to Nurturing Natural Connections and building on the fantastic work already achieved in Cumbernauld.”

Alastair Corbett, Development Officer of Glasgow and Clyde Valley Green Network, said: “GCV Green Network is delighted to support Nurturing Natural Connections. Identifying, managing and enhancing wildlife habitat networks at the local level in Cumbernauld will provide a key piece of the jigsaw for wider, regional networks, while developing an approach that can be replicated in other locations across Glasgow City Region.”

Tracy Lambert