First news headlines of 2021 including stories from over our Christmas break

Covid drives huge increase in use of urban greenspace - NatureScot

cyclist on bike sihouetted against a setting sun
A cyclist enjoying the view at Fernbrae Meadows ©Kenny MacCormack

Visits to urban greenspace soared during the Covid-19 pandemic, demonstrating the importance of green infrastructure for health and wellbeing.

At just one site, Fernbrae Meadows in South Lanarkshire, visitor numbers rose from 14,947 in June 2019 to 95,697 in July 2020 - an incredible increase of 640%

The site is one of seven to have received a share of more than £15m funding allocated by NatureScot under the first phase of the ERDF Green Infrastructure Fund, which seeks to improve access to greenspace in some of the most deprived communities in Scotland.

Working with partners South Lanarkshire Council, the former private golf course at Fernbrae Meadows has been transformed into a new urban park.

The soaring use of the space mirrors research carried out by NatureScot showing a big rise in the number of people visiting the outdoors to enjoy nature this year.

Surveys found a rise in the proportion of people visiting the outdoors at least once a week, from 64% in August 2019 to 71% during the initial lockdown from March to May, and 80% between August and September.

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