The Green Room

Welcome to The Green Room, where you can read all the latest news from Greenbelt. Simply click on the links below to find out about our new developments, community projects and charity events. There is also up-to-date advice from our gardening guru and top tips for becoming more involved in the Greenbelt community. If there is a particular topic you’re interested in, use the search function to take you straight to the relevant articles.

volunteers enhancing 'vital' woodland in fife

Volunteers work with Greenbelt and Wildlife Trust Scotland in enhancing woodland at Glenrothes, Fife that is 'vital' to the urban landscape.

Greenbelt is managing the 213 hectares of woodland on behalf of the Trust, working in partnership with local landscape consultants Mark Hamilton and Andy Hines.

the 68 blocks of woodland are valued for their wildlife habitat, free public access and their important role in the landscape of the town

the 40,000 local residents use the 21 km of woodland paths daily for walking, cycling and horse riding, as well as for getting to and from local shops and places of work

many of the woodland blocks share boundaries with housing and busy public roads, and have a key role in the landscaping of the town

The Forestry Commission has approved an award under the Scottish Forestry Grant Scheme for work on thinning areas of the woodland. Greenbelt also plans to:

  • fell and re-plant other areas of the woodland
  • re-build and upgrade footpaths
  • install new signage
  • improve access, including 3 new 'kissing gates'

Greenbelt worked recently with Fife Ranger Service and Fife Coast and Countryside Trust in organising the volunteer event, 'Countryside On Your Doorstep'.*.

Around 100 volunteers were involved in:

  • clearing invasive rhododendron and laurel
  • planting native trees and flower bulbs
  • mapping and monitoring the 150 bird and bat boxes made by pupils at 10 local schools

Tim Hall, the Trust's Woodland Operations Manager, says: "These woods are vital in the urban environment.

"They are the only areas for wildlife habitat and they are also enormously valuable in terms of what they contribute to the town.

"Trees and woodland are not only visually important, they absorb noise and pollution, they offer privacy in a crowded urban setting, and they improve people's health and quality of life generally."

Beverley Burnside, Greenbelt's Regional Lands Manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland, says: "Greenbelt has responsibility for maintaining the open space, but we welcome the involvement of volunteers and local school pupils in building a sense of shared community ownership of the woodlands."

making kids' play safe

Greenbelt is making sure that play areas it manages across the UK are inspected regularly so that local children can play in safety.

  • Greenbelt has responsibility for 146 play areas, ranging from small toddler play areas to full adventure playgrounds with multi-equipment
  • equipment and surfacing at each play area is inspected by qualified staff every two weeks to make sure they meet European safety standards
  • contractors and all staff complete rigorous training to gain European qualifications in inspecting play areas
  • an independent play area inspection company carries out quarterly and annual inspections to provide thorough technical reports and estimates of the lifecycle of equipment and also inspects the condition of the surface area, for example, bark mulch used to provide a soft landing if a child does fall has to have a minimum depth of 100mm.
  • Janet McQuillan, Greenbelt's Head of Operations, says: "All play areas are inspected every two weeks to make sure that equipment is safe to use, for example that nothing is broken or worn, and there are no hazards."
    "We have a robust reporting system and there is a rigorous annual training course to keep contractors and land staff up to date, and for new people to gain the European qualification before they are included in the Play Area Inspectors Register."

All inspection results are retained on a database that can be accessed by both Greenbelt

and the independent play area inspection company. Greenbelt is currently installing new

signage for all play areas, outlining basic safety rules and giving a free phone number to

report any faults, breakages or damage caused through vandalism.

greenbelt sponsoring community involvement

Greenbelt sponsored one of Scotland's top awards for innovation shown by cutting edge house builders.

CALA won the Homes for Scotland Community Involvement Award for its development at Winchburgh, West Lothian. The company had worked creatively with local residents, including school children, to involve them in the development process.

The awards were presented by broadcaster Sally Magnusson and Keith Geddes, deputy chairman of Scottish Natural Heritage, at a ceremony attended by 700 industry representatives.

Keith Geddes said: "We were very impressed with the consistent high standards demonstrated by house builders through their entries. The winners successfully demonstrated that their particular idea was at the cutting edge of the industry's attempts to develop genuinely creative ways of doing things."

* Homes for Scotland represents the country's house building industry, which builds 25,000 new homes a year. The awards recognised innovation in addressing key issues such as the environment, providing affordable housing, involving local communities and improving customer service.