A £2.5 million scheme to increase wildlife numbers, provide better access for families and alleviate flooding around rivers in a Staffordshire town moves a step closer.
The donation has funded an environmental feasibility study which is now under way to develop, plan and cost a five-year plan for the Stafford Brooks Project.
The project – a partnership of Highways England, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Stafford Borough Council and the Environment Agency – wants to make major improvements to habitats close to the Rivers Sow and Penk.
It would restore and create new habitats on a range of sites across the area including Doxey Marshes, Kingsmead Marsh and Radford Meadows.
The work aims to enable wildlife to thrive in the area, mitigate flooding issues and allow people to be better connected to nature by improving public access to sites and creating more green space for families to enjoy.
These restored sites could become home to a variety of wildlife including otter, wading birds such as lapwing and snipe and a range of amphibians.
Highways England spokesperson Peter Smith said:
The study will identify around 25 sites which can be improved for biodiversity, flood mitigation and water quality. Action will be taken to help join up some sites so habitats are more resilient and wildlife less isolated.
Senior Conservation Manager for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, David Cadman, said:
Borough Council cabinet member for Economic Development and Planning, Frances Beatty, said:
Madeleine Gardner, Catchment Coordinator at the Environment Agency said:
The grant for the study has come from the Highways England Designated Environment Fund which aims to ensure the road network works more harmoniously with its surroundings to deliver an improved environment. This includes creating new or enhancing existing habitats.