Conservationists have called for endangered parks to be saved before they are lost forever to building development.
Green space charity Fields in Trust found nearly 80 square miles of Scotland’s green space is classed as endangered.
The group’s research reveals the country’s parks and green spaces capture 45,161 tonnes of carbon annually – the equivalent of taking 36,013 cars off the road every year.
Fields in Trust says there is no statutory requirement for a council to provide parks and green spaces, so anything without legal protection is technically endangered.
Festival Park, close to where COP26 is being hosted, is included among those areas in Glasgow that are not protected.
It is one of the remnants of the Glasgow Garden Festival in 1988, which celebrated and promoted that Glasgow had been chosen as European City of Culture in 1990.
The charity protects parks or green space to ensure they will be retained for public access and recreation – locking in the health, wellbeing and environmental benefits.
They want to reach an agreement with the landowner by using a Minute of Agreement in Scotland, which sets out a commitment to maintain the space for recreation.
Once completed the restriction within the deed is registered.
It means any check that is made on the land will highlight the protection that is on it and prevent disposal, sale or lease, without the consent of Fields in Trust.
The charity has said a website with the “endangered” list has been created and is now urging everyone to check if their local park is in danger.
Helen Griffiths, chief executive of Fields in Trust, said: “Local response to climate action is crucial, and parks can play an important role in creating a greener and fairer economy.
“They can help tackle health and opportunity inequalities among communities and we must, without question, commit to preserving the green lungs of our towns and cities.
“This all sits within the powers of our local leaders, and this is an opportunity to change the way we think about the contribution local green spaces make to our health, wellbeing, environment, and ultimately our futures.”
The charity estimates 2.7 million people currently live more than a ten minute walk from a public park in the UK, and this figure could increase by 170,000 in the next five years.
Its latest annual green space index suggests the equivalent of 20,000 football pitches’ worth of green space could be lost in the next 20 years due to population growth.
Earlier research suggested the wellbeing value associated with the frequent use of green spaces is worth more than £34bn each year to the UK.
Ms Griffiths added: “These parks and green spaces are under threat, from financial and development pressures and it is up to all of us to stem this cycle of disappearance and decline.
“Our children deserve to have the same green space opportunities that we did, so we need to act today before it’s too late.”
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