Working to protect and enhance the Lickey Hills and their environs
The overflow car park above the Visitor Centre is currently closed and is being used to store felled timber as shown in the photgraph above.
During January, the latest phase of Heathland restoration work was begun along with work to reduce the impact of Phytophthora ramorum. Unfortunately this has meant restricted access to Cofton Hill to allow contractors to carry out the work safely and to reduce the likelihood of spore transfer taking place. Similar work has recently been carried out on Rednal Hill. Some of the soft wood plantations on the heathlands are being removed along with invasive birch scrub. Where it is close to the heathlands, larch is being removed as it is a main contributor to the spread of Phytophthora.
The work will result in a big change to Cofton Hill which will look like it did some 80 years ago with a much more open appearance. If action is not taken, it could result in the loss of all bilberry in the Country Park and the degradation of our heathland.
A lot of thought and planning has gone into this essential work. Although the work looks destructive, it is necessary to retain this special habitat and the associated flora and fauna. The Rangers apologise for any inconvenience caused during this work and they hope that it will not spoil your visit to the Country Park.
Would you like to know more? Please contact the Ranger Service on 0121 445 6036 or call in at the Visitor Centre in Warren Lane
Very many thanks to everyone who managed to complete the online survey to register their views on the Council’s proposals to cut the Parks Dept budget by 20% in 2017/18. The survey was long and complicated and required much patience but hopefully the responses will encourage the Council to re-think their original proposals.
The LHS committee made every effort to register their concern about the situation. Letters appeared in the local free press and in the Birmingham Mail. Letters were sent to local councillors and we were delighted and encouraged to receive the support of Longbridge Councillors; Carole Griffiths, Andy Cartwright and Ian Cruise. Two public meetings were held in the newly refurbished community centre at Stirchley Baths. On both occasions, two LHS representatives spoke about the importance of the city parks (especially the Lickeys), the work of the Rangers Service and front-line staff and the massive support given by volunteers. Cllr Lisa Trickett who is Cabinet Committee and Cabinet Member for Clean Streets, Recycling and Environment, was present at both meetings. Cllr Trickett spoke passionately about parks and green open spaces and she was very aware of the work done by all park staff and the support given by volunteers. The Society was happy to support the efforts made by Sarah Royal and the team at the Birmingham Open Spaces Forum.
The consultation process is now complete and meetings will be held during February and we believe that an announcement about the Budget for 2017/18 will be made in March. We wait in hope to find out about the future for the Country Park, parks throughout the city and the outlook for the future of the Ranger Service and other front line staff.
A coalition of organisations in Birmingham is asking people and businesses to sign a pledge committing to protect the natural environment. Greener Birmingham have united to ensure that the natural environment remains protected at a time when budgets for parks, green spaces and the natural world are reducing.
Georgia Stokes, CEO of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country explained: “We are incredibly fortunate to have an abundance of beautiful parks and green spaces in this city providing places for children to play, opportunities for exercise and for communities to come together, and homes for wildlife. We all benefit from the natural world even in ways we don’t realise including absorption of carbon dioxide and improved air quality, soaking up excess water helping to prevent flooding, and multiple health benefits. Research shows just looking at a green space can help us feel happier and less stressed.
At the moment funding for these essential spaces comes from a small budget from the local authority which is reducing each year. Management of green space does have a cost but the return on that investment is great. We are asking Birmingham City Council to rethink the cuts to the budget for parks that will secure the essential roles of park keepers and rangers.”
For further information and details on how to take the pledge visit http://www.bbcwildlife.org.uk/news/2016/12/23/greener-birmingham-pledge-natural-environment
© 2015 The Lickey Hills Society