Walsall and Wolverhampton City Council, Environment Agency, Canal and River Trust and the Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust are working in partnership to deliver an innovative project preserving and protecting natural habitats and the wider environment and making best use of the Black Country’s natural resources.
The overall objective of the project is “improving habitat quality and ecological networks by investment in green infrastructure along the area’s waterways and linked greenspaces.”
This is being achieved through a three-year £1.24 million project, part funded by the European Regional Development Fund Programme, of mostly capital works to improve habitats and their management along canals and rivers in the Black Country as well as other key natural greenspaces that link into the blue network. The project is also delivering infrastructure improvements to facilitate better visitor management with the dual benefits of reducing the impact of visitors on natural habitats whilst making these improved natural greenspaces and their benefits more available to local communities.
The project directly addresses output indicator C23, surface area of habitats supported in order to attain better conservation status. Some project elements address land remediation to contribute to the area’s green/blue natural capital and indicator C22, total surface area of rehabilitated land.
Other benefits of the project include:
*Encouraging healthy lifestyles and active recreation by:
• Improving provision of accessible natural greenspace
• Improving walking and cycling networks.
Attracting investment and helping change the socio-economic mix by:
• Increasing the attractiveness of the urban landscape.
• Improving the image and reputation of the area.
Improving local communities’ quality of life by:
• Raising awareness and understanding of local environmental assets
• Improving physical links between communities.
• Addressing social inclusion with projects in many of the most deprived LSOAs.
Ameliorating Climate Impacts by:
• Reducing flood risk by better management of watercourses and drainage
• Mitigating heat island effects by increasing and securing green and blue infrastructure in core urban areas.
Preparing the way for future work by:
• Planning for scalability.
• Knowledge transfer with academic institutions.
The project will close March 2019.
European Regional Development Fund Programme
The project is receiving up to £620,407 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government (and in London the intermediate body Greater London Authority) is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.
Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding.