Improving Nature in Birmingham and the Black Country

Tuesday 12th March 2013

Nearly 100 people gathered in Birmingham last week to celebrate the achievements of the first year of the country’s only purely urban Nature Improvement Area.

With an impressive 20 funded projects getting off the ground in the first year to create new and better habitat across the whole area, the partnership of over 50 organisations is looking to do even more over the next two years.

Sir John Lawton, who chaired the panel selecting the 12 pilot areas, praised the Birmingham and the Black Country partnership in his keynote speech for being “a model for collaboration, cooperation and inspiration”, but he warned “Despite all our efforts we are still losing species from the English landscape at an alarming rate”.

In a year that has otherwise seen precious little good news on the environment, Neil Wyatt, Chief Executive of the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and Black Country, says:
“The projects which have already started will make a real difference not only to the wildlife in this area, but also to people's enjoyment of their green spaces, their engagement with their communities and their general wellbeing. We hope this event will inspire even more activity this year”.

As well as hearing about successes so far and future plans, delegates also learnt about the work to produce a new publication “The Flora of Birmingham and the Black Country” which contributed greatly to the understanding of what improvements were needed to the urban landscape by mapping what is there already.

Participants at the event also shared their experiences on twitter through the hashtag #bbcnia and for those who want to find out more, there are plenty of examples of projects that have been funded through the Nature Improvement Area on the website www.bbcnia.org.uk.

 

Nature Improvement Areas

 
Nature Improvement Areas have been created by the government to drive forward the restoration of the natural environment on a landscape scale: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/natural/whitepaper/nia/
Defra launched a competition to fund an initial 12 NIAs in July 2011, judged by a panel led by Professor Sir John Lawton. 76 applications were received and the panel selected 20 to go through to a second stage of the competition. 15 applicants were invited to give presentations to the panel and a final 12 NIAs were selected to receive government funding.

Birmingham & Black Country Nature Improvement Area

 Led by the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and The Black Country, the £650K Birmingham and Black Country Nature Improvement Area is being delivered by and is supported by over fifty partner organisations including the five local authorities (Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton), Black Country Consortium, British Waterways, Natural England, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, RSPB, The Woodland Trust, Birmingham Open Spaces Forum, Black Country Geological Society, plus voluntary groups such as the West Midlands Sustainability Forum, Birmingham Friends of the Earth, Birmingham Trees for Life and MADE.

The Story of Improving Nature on Twitter

We created a story of the day using people's tweets.

Flickr Gallery of the Day

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