Winners have been named at the inaugural West Midlands Natural Environment Awards.
Set up by the West Midlands Combined Authority, the awards showcase and celebrate the community organisations, educational institutions, public sector bodies and businesses who are caring for local green spaces.
Public Sector Award went to Purple Horizons Nature Recovery Project - a multi-agency partnership between Walsall Council, Lichfield Council, Natural England, Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, and Environment Agency.
Extending across 10,000 ha on the fringes of the West Midlands conurbation, Purple Horizons Nature Recovery Project (NRP) is restoring and connecting fragmented nationally and internationally important heathlands that are vital for the recovery and long-term resilience of reptiles, birds and pollinators.
It will help connect Sutton Park National Nature Reserve and Cannock Chase Special Area of Conservation together with local nature reserves, enhance the internationally important geo-diversity in the Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark, and work with local landowners to deliver habitat creation, and carbon capture and storage options for their land, supporting climate change adaptation and mitigation.
In Walsall, a plan is being developed to connect with communities in the deprived areas to understand where habitat creation and green infrastructure will deliver the greatest health benefits. Other awards went to:
- Community Award - Armed Forces Community Garden, Hillfield Park, Solihull, the Royal British Legion and Solihull Council
- Education Award - Kings Rise Academy Knowledge and Education in Nature (KRAKEN), Kingstanding
- Business Award - The Linear Park, Coventry, Idverde and Complex Development Projects.
Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands and WMCA Chair, said: “Congratulations to all the nominees and winners at our first ever awards.
"It was great to learn about so many local success stories, present local people with their awards and extend our thanks to them - on behalf of residents right across our region - for their fantastic efforts.
“Looking after our wonderful waterways and precious green spaces enriches all of our lives. The projects we celebrated are improving health and wellbeing in local communities at the same time as contributing towards a beneficial longer-term impact on our environment.
“It’s important to give the passionate community groups, businesses, local authorities and educational institutions the recognition they rightly deserve.”
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