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.

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.

sharing knowledge on sustainability

Greenbelt is leading the field in the long term operation and management of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) within the UK.

SUDS are now a requirement for all new developments within Scotland, providing a means to reduce pollutants entering our watercourses and mitigating against the risk of flooding from urban expansion. SUDS use has increased considerably since their introduction in the late 1990's, most notably as a result of the introduction of the Water Environment Water Services Act (Scotland) 2003; however similar legislation, requiring the use of SUDS, is yet to be introduced to the rest of the UK.

Recognising the changing trends within the development industry, Greenbelt are now working in conjunction with Dundee's University of Abertay under a Government sponsored Knowledge Transfer Partnership to share learning and further develop knowledge within this field. The Partnership's aims include:

  • developing robust and up to the minute training packages for staff and contractors based upon current industry best practice,
  • enhancing inspection and monitoring programmes,
  • improving the handover process of SUDS within new developments, and
  • working with developers to ensure that the design and construction of sustainable drainage systems is in accordance with best practice.

SUDS replace traditional piped systems for managing surface water runoff, using one or more components in series to detain, treat and convey rainfall. Examples of common SUDS include:

  • Retention ponds - permanent water ponds which detain rainfall for a given period and remove pollutants by biological treatment prior to discharge to the watercourse.
  • Detention basins - dry ponds that are designed to detain rainfall, promoting settlement of sediments before discharging the water at a controlled rate to the watercourse.
  • Swales - grassed open channels that can be designed to treat, store and/or convey rainfall.

Greenbelt is the only UK-wide company that owns and manages greenbelt land formed as part of new housing development and has over 6 years of experience of operation and management of sustainable drainage systems. Greenbelt currently manages over 100 SUDS throughout the UK.

The Knowledge Transfer Partnership with Abertay's Urban Water Technology Centre, funded by the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), formally the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), will create a benchmark of best practice within the development industry. Professor Chris Jefferies says: "Working with Greenbelt will expand the company's existing green space management expertise providing practical methodologies and procedures for the successful long-term operation and maintenance of SUDS."

Greenbelt's Managing Director, Alex Middleton says: "BERRs funding of this Partnership recognises the values and benefits that Abertay and Greenbelt bring to the development industry. I am confident that the results will bring beneficial new procedures to the industry."

The £100,000 funding includes a two-year contract for Abertay graduate Mr Neil Berwick as an Associate with the Partnership.

Mr Berwick has recently gained an MSc Degree with Distinction in Urban Water and Environmental Management and was awarded the Balmoral Environmental Education Award and the Conoco Phillips Environmental Award. He says: "Greenbelt is leading the field in the long term operation and maintenance of SUDS in the UK, delivering sustainable solutions to the development industry. This project offers a fantastic opportunity to further hone Greenbelts SUDS expertise - with Abertay providing cutting edge guidance and knowledge and Greenbelt feeding back how schemes work in practice - is translating research into practice."

working with friends

Greenbelt is working with the Friends of Springfield Mill to create a community woodland at Morley, near Leeds.

Springfield Mill Park is the first project that Greenbelt has been involved in with a Friends organisation, and signage erected at the Park is the first to include Greenbelt's new logo. The Park was opened on 11 May by local MP Colin Challen and Councillor Bob Gettings, Mayor of Morley.

Read more: working with friends