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City to bloom after funding boost

Wildflower meadows, tree planting and bat and bird boxes will be introduced at sites across Wolverhampton thanks to a funding boost of more than £600,000.

The environmental improvements will be made at three locations, Fowlers Park in the city centre, Ward Street in Bilston and Pendeford Park, and aim to increase biodiversity, improve access and encourage visitors.

The work is being carried out as part of the Black Country Blue Network 2 project which aims to improve 119 hectares of green space linked by the local canal and river network.

Black Country Blue Network is a partnership project between City of Wolverhampton Council, Walsall Council, Dudley Council, Canal & River Trust and Severn Rivers Trust.

A first phase of the project was completed in 2019, and on behalf of the partners, Wolverhampton Council put forward a bid for further funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

A total of £1.67million was awarded for the joint project, of which Wolverhampton received more than £600,000. The council will also be responsible for project managing the work across the whole Black Country Blue Network.

At Fowlers Park, work will include tree planting to improve the variety of species and encourage a diversity of wildlife, creation of wildflower meadows and improvements to the park lake which has become overgrown.

New signage and disability friendly improvements to access points are also planned to encourage more visitors to the area.

In Ward Street, the money will fund the creation of grassland and meadows to attract a variety of insects and improve biodiversity. There will also be planting to improve the variety of species and access improvements to and through the site.

Pendeford Park will see the creation of a new wildflower meadow, installation of bat and bird boxes to support the local bat and bird populations, tree planting, woodland management and improvements to access paths.

Councillor Steve Evans, Cabinet Member for City Environment, said: “I want to thank the ERDF for providing the council with such a significant amount of money. This work is something we were keen to carry out and now we have this extra funding, we will be able to make it happen.

“This money has been granted from the ERDF specifically for these important environmental projects. The work we are planning will not only improve our open spaces for a wide variety of plants and wildlife but will also mean we can improve access for local residents and open up places for everyone to enjoy.

“In 2019 the council declared a climate emergency and the tree planting planned as part of this project is a key way of us helping the environment. As well as keeping the city green, trees help to support wildlife and improve air quality.”

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