The West Midlands will develop a “Charter for Nature” to restore the 'green heart of England' if Liam Byrne MP, Labour candidate wins the race to be the next West Midlands Metro Mayor.

“Our urban areas face an ecological emergency that matches the climate emergency’, Liam Byrne explained. “Nature is severely depleted and species are disappearing. We need to make sure that no one is more than a fifteen-minute walk away from a green space, where they can enjoy plants, birdsong, hopefully a body of water, and see something of nature.”

Byrne believes the Charter should be written from the “bottom up” involving residents, especially children and young people, alongside experts from the conservation organisations such as the like Friends of the Earth, the Woodlands Trust, the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts and WWF.

“The scope for the Charter must be ambitious,” say Byrne, we should listen carefully to the experts at Birmingham City University who believe parts of the West Midlands, could become a National Park and even be reforested.

“Every neighbourhood should have the opportunity of assessing the green space that it needs to improve biodiversity with rewilding, planting for birds, insects and bees and making better use of the “blue spaces” we have with our waterways and canals.

“The backbone of our plan will be our aim to plant at least one tree for every person in the West Midlands backed up by a series of local nurseries to encourage sustainable management of our woodlands big and small.

“How will we pay for all of this? We propose a variety of funding mechanisms for this, a multi-faceted programme co-ordinated through our new Green Energy Transport and Housing Agency (GrETHA) and the Culture & Sports team.

“We will explore the introduction of a carbon offset scheme for new developments just like Milton Keynes and London boroughs have introduced.

“We’ll ask big players – like Severn Trent, HS2, Commonwealth Games - to bring forward planting schemes. Our own development programme such as new developments, town centre renewal, and streetscape, and transport improvements will include plans for planting, in agreement with local councils and residents.

ENDS

Notes for Editors:

The 10 key issues:

1.     Biodiversity - Increasing biodiversity and restoring nature

2.     Rewilding - and rewilding the greenbelt

3.     Planting for birds and insects and bee corridors

4.     Shrubs and flower planting for green spaces and verges

5.     New green spaces

6.     Tree planting

7.     Blue spaces - urban ‘marine parks’ and biodiverse waterways and canals

8.     Access to nature, learning about nature schemes and nature clean ups

9.    Food planting and buying locally from farmers and local food growing

10.  Promoting a reduction in the use of pesticides 

The full charter can be found here. 

https://liambyrnemp.co.uk/Charter-for-Nature

Contact:

Oliver Longworth - Press Officer for Liam Byrne - olongworth@gmail.com - 07468611694