Shropshire Star

Six new local nature reserves approved for Telford & Wrekin

Six new local nature reserves have been approved by a council – as well as the extension of two existing sites.

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Councillors have approved the creation of new local nature reserves

The decision was taken at Telford & Wrekin Council's cabinet, and Councillor Carolyn Healy, cabinet member for climate change, green spaces, natural and historic environment and cultural services, said it was a recognition of how important green space is to residents.

The move has created 116 hectares of new local nature reserve (LNR), along with an extension of 35 hectares at existing reserves.

The title of an LNR is a statutory designation which reflects an owner’s commitment to managing the site for conservation or recreational purposes.

The new sites include five hectares at Central Hall in Donnington, 13 hectares at Heath Hill and Pool Hill in Dawley & Aqueduct, 30 hectares at Holmer Lake with Kemberton Meadow and Mounds in Madeley & Sutton Hill, The Nedge and Brookside, seven hectares at Horsehay Pool with Simpsons Pool in Horsehay and Lightmoor, 48 hectares at Snedshill and the Flash in Priorslee and St Georges, and 13 hectares at Langley Fields in Malinslee and Dawley Bank.

The sites include a variety of areas of grassland, scrub, wooded pit mounds, broadleaved woodland, gorse and bracken heathland, in addition to lakes and pools that are home to great crested newts and a number of native insects.

The extensions come at Dothill LNR which is expanded by 12 hectares, and Granville LNR in Muxton which increases by 23 hectares.

Councillor Healy said: "What this means is that, as a partly urban borough, we are massively punching above our weight when it comes to natural spaces.

"More importantly, it means that everyone in our borough has a huge amount of green space that they are free to access. As a council, we recognise that our residents value these sites and we are on their side.

"Our green spaces are so important – a haven for those seeking to bolster their mental and physical health, a place where we can protect and reconnect with the natural environment, and a free activity in an ever more expensive world.

"That’s why we’re creating these new Local Nature Reserves and actively investing in their improvement, increasing our total area of declared reserves by more than 25 per cent, so that everyone has nature nearby.”

The report presented to cabinet also stated that 70 per cent of visits to the sites are made by foot or bike

Once the new sites have been formally recognised by Natural England they will join 17 existing sites previously designated by the council, bringing the total number of LNRs in Telford and Wrekin to 23, covering an area of 707 hectares.