AS YOU would expect, Green councillors were able to ensure that the importance of green spaces was mentioned in the council’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2022.

When this plan was being drafted in October 2017, “to promote and enhance our city's natural resources including nature reserves and public parks" was a priority put forward for inclusion by Greens.

We had to take action to protect biodiversity and connect people with nature.

During 2019-20, the establishment of an Ecological Emergency Working Group with representation from political groups on the council, as well as external organisations with expertise in ecology and members of the Local Biodiversity Action Plan Partnership, also provided support to look across a broad range of issues relating to biodiversity loss.

Currently, Glasgow has a network of Local Nature Reserves managed both for biodiversity and for people’s enjoyment of nature, with these covering 12 sites of 522 hectares of land in total.

There has been a review of sites across the city to identify opportunities for new or extended Local Nature Reserves. It is vital to recognise the extensive work undertaken across the council to provide additional local nature reserves to reach a target of one hectare per 1000 population.

By designating Local Nature Reserves, it is possible to help increase green corridors, pollinator pathways and allow for woodlands, hedgerows and wildflower meadows to be maintained, established or enhanced.

If you look through the minutes of this month’s committee meetings, you will find a proposal to create 22 new nature reserves has been approved by councillors.

This is significant progress by the council in support of Local Nature Reserves. This will improve green corridors and pollinator ways and protect and enhance habitats and species throughout the city.

However, in light of the ecological emergency, and with time running out to make the changes needed globally, nationally and locally, further resources are needed to step up protection and enhancement of green space and biodiversity.

The latest Red List assessment of butterflies indicates that there is a 26% increase in the number of species threatened with extinction. We have to create safe havens for butterflies and moths. 

Many people have supported lawns growing longer this spring. Caterpillars are living in the grass but so are a whole variety of different insects, making it a small but vital ecosystem.

Leaving lawns un-mowed also enables wildflowers to come through which then attracts butterflies and moths and allows them to pollinate and safely lay their eggs.

As citizens of the Dear Green Place we are fortunate to live in a city with a large number of public parks, cemeteries and other greenspaces. We can help nature by giving support for the ‘greening’ of our local neighbourhoods.

Many parks and greenspaces already contain some biodiversity habitats and endangered species but there is potential for most, if not all, of them to further contribute to halting and reversing the decline in biodiversity and providing opportunities for wildlife friendly spaces. 

With many species under threat, restoring nature has never been more urgent.