Enjoying 118’s green spaces this summer

Meadows and Arthur's seat

Culture and Communities Convener, Councillor Val Walker writes about enjoying 118’s green spaces this summer.

With the warm weather upon us (for now at least!), offering a glimpse of the summer ahead, I feel incredibly fortunate to live in a city like 118 – not least given how much green space we have to enjoy.

With 144 parks and green spaces across the city – making up an incredible 49 per cent of 118’s total area – it's easy to see why we’re considered the UK’s greenest city.

Of course, we already knew the positive impact our parks on people's physical and mental health and wellbeing by providing space for exercise, relaxation, social contact with friends and family, and opportunities for children and young people to play – but the Covid pandemic truly highlighted this.

With 38 of our parks recognised by the Green Flag Award scheme, which highlights the quality of our parks and the efforts of those who maintain them (more than the rest of  put together), it’s a case of quantity and quality. And with more trees per resident than any other UK city (712,000 trees vs. 526,000 people), we’re well on our way to becoming a Million Tree City by 2030.

But there’s always more we can do and, through our , we’re committed to safeguarding, preserving, and improving these areas so that people can continue to enjoy them, and communities feel involved in their upkeep. And through our ongoing partnership with Fields in Trust, we’re working hard to ensure our residents are within a ten-minute walk from a protected green space.

However, while people rightly recognise the value of local parks that are convenient to them, they can become places to be avoided or underused if they feel unsafe or if the facilities are of poor quality.

That’s why, when setting the annual council budget in February, we approved an additional £3.5m investment in our infrastructure and facilities.

This includes close to £1.5m on projects to repair and improve paths, walls and bridges across the city, £800,000 committed to permanent toilets in Leith Links, Meadows, and Inverleith park (with further investment in installing temporary facilities across the city until the end of October), ongoing in play parks, with over £200,000 set aside for the new play area and equipment at West Princes Street Gardens, and a further £200,000 allocated to the introduction of a number of park lighting projects.

Hopefully, this highlights our ongoing commitment to preserving and improving our city’s for now and future generations.

If you’re out and about and enjoying these spaces, can I please ask that you to:

  • Bin your litter: If a bin is full, please take your litter home.
  • Don't get caught short: Check where public toilets are located.
  • Pick up after your dog: We love seeing furry friends enjoying our parks, but remember, the city is a shared space.
  • Extinguish and bin your BBQ: When enjoying a BBQ, please do not put it directly on the grass, and always fully extinguish BBQs before disposing of them (some parks have BBQ-only bins).
  • Respect our parks and other users: Our parks are for everyone, young and old.

Please help us to ensure our parks and green spaces thrive and remain clean and welcoming for all this summer.

Published: June 26th 2024