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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Inshes District Park Nature Rich Greenspace Project

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Inshes District Park in Inverness will be making a valuable contribution to tackle the impacts of climate change through the planting of around 9000 native trees and shrubs in the coming weeks.

The ‘Nature Rich Greenspace’ project successfully secured £139k of funding through the Scottish Government’s Nature Restoration Fund which is managed by NatureScot and specifically encourages projects that restore wildlife and habitats on land and sea and address the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change.

The £200k project follows on from the recent path work carried out in the Phase 3 section of the site, which saw the final link of the traffic-free route through the park completed.

The NatureScot funding is supplemented with developer contributions, collected over a number of years from adjacent housing developments, along with a £10.5k contribution from Sustrans’ Places for Everyone programme, which is funded by the Scottish Government

A large proportion of the tree planting will take place on the upper slopes of Phase 2, the mid-section of the park, and will consist of native trees such as Birch, Field Maple and Oak. 

The project will also include landscape planting around the main entrance and the Stephenson Road edge which will provide some much-needed screening from traffic. 

There will also be some supplementary planting around the pond with species associated with wetland habitats to help improve the ecological diversity.

The recently completed Phase 3 section of traffic-free path, which is between Inshes Road and Milton of Leys, will also be enhanced by woodland restoration which concentrates around the lower levels of the site.

The existing birch woodland will also be subject to some thinning for woodland management purposes.  

The path project previously benefited from £277k of backing from Sustrans as part of their ‘Places for Everyone’ scheme.

The overall aim of the tree planting project will be to create a ‘Nature Rich Greenspace’ where wildlife can flourish.

The project will create many benefits as it seeks to increase biodiversity and connectivity. 

This means that nature and people will be able to use this green wildlife corridor to move between town and countryside.

With the spread of housing development in the Inshes area, the park is an important greenspace where neighbouring communities can connect with nature.

The trees will include varieties that support winter berries and will provide feeding opportunities for local wildlife – an important resource within an ever-expanding city.

Planting trees will help to switch to less intensive greenspace management as less mowing reduces energy costs and emissions. 

Biodegradable tree guards will also be used on the project as a means of reducing the use of plastic.

NatureScot Head of Biodiversity, Dr Katherine Leys, said:

“Through the Nature Restoration Fund, we can support projects across Scotland to tackle the twin crises of biodiversity loss and climate change, restore nature and improve the health and wellbeing of local communities.

“The Nature Rich Greenspaces project is an excellent example: native trees and shrubs will be planted to mitigate the effects of climate change, enhance the habitat for local wildlife, while creating a wonderful place for people to connect with nature.

“We’re excited to see the positive difference this project will make to Inshes District Park.”

Maelle Ducreux, Infrastructure Coordinator for Sustrans said:

“We are pleased to be able to award funding to see the woodland restoration take place on the final phase of this traffic-free route.

“The completed route through Inshes park makes walking, wheeling and cycling far easier for those travelling between communities and accessing local bus services and amenities.

“The green space project will also provide opportunities to improve people’s health and general wellbeing.”

The Ward Members are delighted that the park is going to benefit from having such a high number of trees and shrubs planted.

Local Councillor Ken Gowans said:

“It’s great to see this planting project moving forward. Each of the phases provides a different user experience.

“Inshes Park is not only a fantastic amenity for everyone in Inverness South, but it has also become a destination park for those from well beyond and for people of all ages and abilities.

“My appreciation goes to the team at Highland Council who have worked hard to deliver all of the phases and to those in the community who have supported the project.

“Given the huge amount of housing development in east of Inverness, we are crying out for more sports and leisure facilities in the area in future.

“It is also important to involve local children wherever possible, there are some budding environmentalists in our primary schools.”

Cllr Carolyn Caddick who is also an active member of the Inshes Park Community Association added:

“The woodland creation at Inshes Park is a great example of how a sustainable greenspace can be made that will help to support green initiatives and our environments capacity to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

“I would like to thank the hard work the Inshes Park Community Association puts into raising funds, providing play areas and working closely with council officers to ensure the planting fits with the overall park development plan on behalf of the community.”

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