The Panel considered an update report on the progress of the preparation of a Green Infrastructure Delivery Plan. Councillor Porter – Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Biodiversity, highlighted the key points within the report and responded to questions from members.
A Green Infrastructure (GI) Strategy was adopted by the Council at the meeting of Cabinet on 19th June 2018. The Strategy included the commitment to prepare a Delivery Plan to support the Strategy’s implementation.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust had been commissioned to prepare detailed
habitat mapping of the District to help identify opportunities for green
The mapping was supported by a description for each habitat opportunity area, provided detail of specific opportunities for creation, enhancement, or
connectivity improvement within each habitat type.
The 2018 Strategy included mapping to illustrate opportunities to support more walking and cycling for short journeys to key destinations, as well as to
encourage leisure walking and cycling
A review of the evidence base mapping, alongside discussion with partners,
had enabled a collection of potential GI delivery projects to be drawn together
and recorded in a schedule.
The next steps for the work included integration of the GI area map of
opportunities with the Council’s GIS system so that the map could be used in a more interactive manner and to prepare full delivery plans for priority projects on the draft schedule.
Members welcomed the report but were concerned that it did not incorporate a list of deliverable priority projects with attached timescales and costings. The Portfolio Holder explained that this was an update report which contained proposals and wasn’t the final report. The projects were reliant on the Council working with its partners and the proposals would be prioritised at the next meeting of the Project Board. The management of grasslands was being reviewed with Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and SMDC was one of the first Council’s to look at nature based solutions.
Discussion also took place around active travel, cycle parking, orchards, tree planting on private land, Biddulph in Bloom and the possibility of a dedicated Climate Change officer. It was felt that more could be done to enhance the biodiversity of grasslands, without assistance from partners and that the Council needed to expediate progress to achieve its target to be carbon neutral by 2030. The importance of an Urban Tree Strategy was highlighted and a suggestion that there was a minimum planting requirement for all new housing developments. The wildlife corridor along the railway track in Cheadle required attention to ensure the trees were planted before Springtime.
Councillor Porter agreed that Parish and Town Councils needed to be fully engaged with the plans and encouraged councillors to invite him to their meetings or to contact him with any suggestions in relation to carbon reduction.
Councillor Davies offered to send the details of wildlife research carried out in Biddulph to Jo Bagnall after the meeting.
1) The Panel noted the progress on the preparation of the Green Infrastructure Delivery Plan, which included the mapping of opportunities for the enhancement of habitats and their connectivity, and the preparation of a first draft schedule of green infrastructure delivery projects.