5. Natural Environment

The natural environment is one aspect of the overall environment – other aspects such as the built environment, the roads and transport environment and heritage are dealt with in other sections. Noise is generally not a significant environmental issue in the CBM area, apart from on a short term basis due to a specific development (such as the AWPR) and from traffic on the North Deeside Road. Atmospheric pollution is also not a significant threat, apart from the possibility of a pollution incident. The River Dee regularly floods and there is a floodplain on both sides of the river where it flows through the CBM area. The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency has responsibility for this aspect of the environment.

The natural environment includes all ‘Open Spaces’ which are the open, usually green, areas within and on the edges of settlements.  They can include parks, gardens, playing fields, woodland, river corridors, play areas, amenity spaces, allotments and civic space, together with associated flora and fauna.

Aberdeen City Council have published their Open Space Audit Report 2010 and their Open Space Strategy 2011 – 2016 . Cults, Bieldside and Milltimber are dealt with in both of these documents as being part of the Lower Deeside Ward.     CBM in particular has a good share of both area and variety of spaces, some being the Deeside Golf Course, Cults Academy and Cults Primary School playing fields,  Ladyhill and Foggieton Woods,  Cults Den, Friarsfield and the Allan Parks,  the green corridor of the Old Deeside Railway Line and the riverside pathway along the north bank of the Dee. Most of the open spaces are generally well managed, used and maintained.

CBM also has farm land with fields of arable and grazing providing green space around the periphery of and between the areas.   All of this gives CBM an air of villages in the countryside even though it is within the city boundary.

ConservationThere are nine nature conservation sites in the CBM area, but no nature reserves or Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSIs). There is one Special Area of Conservation – the River Dee Valley.

Natural Heritage

The aspect of our community’s heritage that has recently been most obviously under threat is green space:  the natural environment of river valley, woodland, fields and open space that help to make our area a pleasant place to live have been affected by housing and other developments. However Local Nature Conservation sites (LNCS) are protected through Aberdeen City Council’s Local Development Plan. Pitfodels is a designated Conservation Area, as is the River Dee corridor. The Allan Park, six acres of land gifted to the parish in 1897 by David Allan, is maintained by Aberdeen City Council and by voluntary work by the Friends of Allan Park, formed in 2013.

Maintenance and Improvements

Public open spaces under the management of Aberdeen City Council are generally adequately tended to keep them tidy.   Roads and walkways are generally kept reasonably litter free and there are only a few areas where litter is an issue. When necessary CBMCC has organized local litter picks at these areas.

CBMCC started an initiative a few years ago to create floral havens, including planters and hanging baskets, generally along the North Deeside Road – More Blooms in Cults Bieldside & Milltimber (MBCBM). Spring flower bulbs donated by ACC have also been planted.

 

Key Issues

  1. Threat of development of green spaces. This is an ongoing issue.
  2. How to ‘future proof’ green spaces.
  3. MBCBM displays have largely been possible by donations from organisations and grants. Sustainable funding is needed to continue this programme and the CC is actively trying to elicit a larger number of small public donations to carry on with the project.

 

Community Council Objectives

To ensure that the views of the community are fully taken into account in all proposals, plans and developments affecting the natural environment.

To conserve and enhance the natural environment.

 

Proposed Action

  • To continue the current response to the key issues above.
  • To continue to determine the views of the community.
  • To prioritise the green areas, and to study ways (such as community ownership) of protecting them from development. Also to identify opportunities to enhance some of the green areas (such as developing a nature reserve).

 

Consultation

Views are specifically invited on the following:

  1. 1. What are the most important green areas to conserve?
  2. Ideas for protecting and enhancing the local environment.
  3. Ideas for improving the outdoor amenities and environment of new houses