ERDF Solihull Habitat and Nature Improvements Project
In April 2017, Solihull Council was successful with a funding application to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) to undertake a wide range of habitat and nature improvement projects across the borough.
The application was made under the ERDF Priority Axis 6d: Preserving and Protecting the Environment and will result in improved conservation status for 121 hectares of habitat.
The three year programme of woodland, grassland, wetland and water quality improvements will be delivered across publicly accessible green space within Solihull.
The funding will be used to undertake 28 individual habitat improvement schemes that collectively will increase and strengthen the capacity of the natural environment to deliver ecosystem services across the region. All of the proposed schemes are located in the urban areas of Solihull.
The Environment Agency and Warwickshire Wildlife Trust are strategic partners on the delivery of the project.
Fordbridge Road Reed Bed
Work will start at the end of June to improve a drain connection into the River Cole on an area of public open space next to the river near to the junction of Fordbridge Road and Gilson Way The works will last until mid-August.
An existing grassed area next to a drain connecting to the River Cole will be mechanically excavated to create a level area lower than the surrounding land. A spill-over channel will be installed to allow the water to feed more gradually into the river.
The area will be planted with wetland plant species to include common reed (Phragmites australis) and reed sweet-grass (Glyceria maxima). These wetland plants act as natural filters, cleaning the grey water as it flows through. This also will slow down the rate of water flow as it passes through the vegetation.
This allows any suspended sediment to drop out of the water flow, limiting pollution to the River Cole. These plants provide food and shelter to freshwater invertebrates, fish and birds whilst oxygenating the water and filtering salts and pollutants.
This scheme is a smaller version of a similar reed bed filtration scheme successfully undertaken by Solihull Council and the Environment Agency in 2013 on a drain that feeds into Babbs Mill Lake, 800 metres upstream from this location.
Woodland management works took place in Alcott Wood, Hillfield Park, Dorridge Wood and Elmdon Park during January and February 2018.
The works involved the selective thinning of trees. This is to improve the overall health of the woodland, enhance biodiversity and improve access. Woodlands need to contain trees of a variety of species, ages and heights. This variety means that lots of different species of wildlife can find suitable areas to live and thrive within the wood.
Further woodland management works will start in September/October 2018. We will update this page with further information in due course.
European Regional Development Fund
The project has received £966,552 of funding from the ERDF as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for ERDF. Established by the European Union, ERDF funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.
More information on the project is available here: www.solihull.gov.uk/Planning/Habitats-leaflet.pdf.