Nature Reserve -First Hurdle Overcome!

Back at the end of March Councillor Phil Bateman and Councillor Dave Jones,both City Councillors called for 'Nature Reserve' status for the Essington and Wyrley Canal in Wednesfield.
They said "We would like to see the Great Wyrley and Essington Canal running through Wednesfield North declared Wolverhampton's Newest Nature Reserve. This canal is in essence a broad wildlife corridor and it is very important as such.

Not only is it rich in birdlife such as Coots,Moorhens,Mallards, Canada Geese and Mute Swans.It also attracts other birds such as Herons, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long Tail Tits, as well as Chaffinch, Mistle Thrush,Song Thrush, House Sparrows,Green Finch, Gold Finch and Linnets and much more.

It is also home to a wide variety of fish such as Perch, Roach, Pike, Gudgeon, and Carp."

Now the City Council have officially responded and a City Official has written stating "I have been handed your request about the above, and the Director has asked me to progress it.

I shall need to speak to the ecologist in my own Group and also to colleagues in Leisure Services (Parks) about this, and will be back in touch as soon as I have done so.

In the meantime I would just mention that designation as a Local Nature Reserve is a statutory action under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949 and has to meet stringent requirements.

As well as the intrinsic nature conservation value, which has to be surveyed and evaluated, the local authority has to be the landowner or leaseholder or to have a nature reserve agreement with the owner.

In this case we are talking about collaboration with British Waterways. In addition, we have to consult widely with local communities and interested parties and work closely with Natural England (formerly English Nature, the Countryside Agency and the Rural Development Service) in the preparation of management proposals.

This is a resource-intensive process as you will appreciate and there are revenue implications for future maintenance and enhancement work. There is already a list of candidates for designation."

Councillor Jones said " We are both very pleased with the response. We knew that getting an interest from the City Council was the first step in what is a very difficult process.

But I am keen to see the work done. This is a valuable wildlife corridor, and the people of Wednesfield have their own life enriched if this request was granted.

Councillor Bateman added " Make no mistake this is a long and difficult path that we have taken. The British Waterways Board will not just welcome this attention. We shall have to work hard to ensure that both the BWB and the City Council realise what a natural gem that they have here.

There is a wide variety of both flora and fauna and it sits right bang in the middle of an Urban Area that has around 35,000 residents (Wednesfield).

As I have stated this is going to be quite a long job to achieve I suspect. But it is achievable and it is a project that I am sure would be hugely beneficial to our community, as well as the local wildlife.

"Sign the Motion Of Support On The Discussion Page - Leave a Message"

Author: Phil Bateman

Article Date: 8th April 2007