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Following on from the meeting of Economy, Environment and infrastructure (EEI) Committee in March, when Members agreed to allocate £400,000 to countryside and core paths, Councillors will now hear a separate report on the proposed capital programme for the countryside service at the EEI meeting of 14 May.
The Council’s Countryside and Access team are in the process of improving all Core Paths by bringing them up to a reasonable standard: removing path obstructions; improving path infrastructure; and erecting signage on all core path routes. This will meet requirements set out in the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.
Core paths and key infrastructure which needs to be improved in 2019/20 has already been identified by the Countryside and Access Team, with further improvements and activities planned for the following two years of the three-year capital development programme.
The team have focussed on strategic projects that contribute to larger programmes which have secured significant match funding leverage against the Council’s own capital budget.
- The Rhins of Galloway Coast Path
- Galloway Glens Landscape partnership Scheme
- The Criffel Summit path
- The Southern Upland Way
The team have secured an additional £1.1M of external funding for 2019/20 from a variety of sources, including the heritage Lottery Fund, Coastal Communities Fund, Scottish Rural Development Programme/Europe amongst others, including local and national charities.
Chair of EEI Committee, Archie Dryburgh said: “These large-scale landscape projects, based around the Core Paths network, will help contribute to the longer term economic, social and environmental wellbeing of communities across our Region. As well as sustaining and improving our natural landscape this work brings the added benefit or tourism, attracting walkers to our region for our spectacular views, as well as improving the local countryside access for our own residents.”
Vice Chair, Andrew Wood said: “These paths cover the whole of our region and provide an important network for walkers. It is essential that we maintain access for all to our wonderful countryside and reap the wide-ranging benefits, both economical and in health and wellbeing.”