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A key part of people's well-being is having access to good surroundings. Communities can feel disadvantaged because of the state of the environment they live in. Poor management of the natural heritage can manifest itself in a number of ways - from things such as paths not being maintained, litter proliferating and woodlands being neglected to more significant impacts such as pollution, dereliction and contaminated land. Improving the quality of the environment that people have access to can be a key step in helping improve the socio-economic outlook of an area.

  • People's physical and mental health can be improved by living in a better environment - and this helps them contribute more to their community and local economy
  • Communities and individuals need to feel they have some control over their surroundings - and have the chance to take responsibility for and have pride in where they live
  • Planning policy can help regenerate disadvantaged areas by directing positive developments and environmental improvement to these places - regeneration should be built into development plans early on
  • The planning system can help provide better places for people to live and work by promoting good practice such as designing-in green space and provision for active travel

Working with others

We work with communities and individuals to help them make use of, value and improve their natural heritage. We are focussing our efforts on areas with greatest socio-economic disadvantage - and where we can help make a difference.

  • We work to ensure the natural heritage features in spatial planning and Single Outcome Agreements - to help provide accessible, good-quality natural areas close to people's homes
  • We are working with others, especially Forestry Commission Scotland and the Central Scotland Forest Trust to plan and deliver the Scottish Government's ambitions for the Central Scotland Green Network external site - as set out in the National Planning Framework 2
  • We have a key role in the delivery of support to communities through the Scotland Rural Development Programme, especially LEADER - we want communities to be supported to help develop their own plans for their environment
  • We work with other organisations and communities to provide ways people can volunteer to help look after their environment - this helps them both develop a sense of ownership of their surroundings and develop useful life-skills to help them into employment
  • We are working with social enterprises in the third sector to help communities build-up their confidence to develop their local area

Our Sharing Good Practice programme includes a range of events which enable communities and individuals to share their experiences from working to improve their local environments. [link needed to SGP page on SNH website]