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Have your say on town's future

Have your say on town's future


 

A number of events are being held to allow residents to comment on plans for Tamworth’s future.

The Tamworth Local Plan is the borough council’s blueprint which will guide development in the borough until 2028.

The plan includes information on how many houses the borough will need and where they may be built, policies on affordable housing, employment, the town centre and the environment and transport.

The Local Plan - previously referred to as the Core Strategy - is now moving to its final stages where people can have their say.

The Town Centre Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) will provide detailed planning guidance on the policies within The Tamworth Local Plan to steer future town centre development.

It will also set out appropriate options for redevelopment of key sites within the town centre, along with design principles and standards.

A number of ‘drop in sessions’ will take place next week, where staff will be on hand to discuss the Local Plan  and the town centre SPD. They are:

·        ·        Friday June 29, 2pm to 5pm: Wilnecote Library, Wilnecote High School, Tinkers Green Road, Wilnecote,

· Saturday June 30, 10am to 2pm: Ankerside Shopping Centre

·        Thursday 5 July, 9am to 5pm: Marmion House Reception (the Council Offices), Lichfield Street

You can download copies of the Local Plan, accompanying documents and response form

Any comments received will be presented to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate later this year.

Two events were held on Tuesday June 26 and Wednesday June 27.

Is that plant a problematic Invasive Non-Native Species?


A new app to help combat the spread of three problem plants launches today.

Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Floating Pennywort are three particularly problematic Invasive, Non-Native Species (INNS) that are spreading quickly across the Midlands region. Using a smartphone app called PlantTracker we would like anyone who is out and about to record where these plants are so that we can more accurately assess the situation.

An INNS is any non-native animal or plant that has the ability to spread causing damage to the environment, the economy, our health and the way we live. INNS pose threats to biodiversity, increase flood risk, and affect the state of our water environment. INNS cost the British economy a minimum of £1.7 billion per annum.

Japanese Knotweed can grow through asphalt, contributes to river bank erosion, increasing the risk of flooding and is very difficult to get rid of. Himalayan Balsam can grow to over 2 metres high, and also damages river banks. Floating Pennywort grows on water at a rate of up to 20cm per day, and can completely smother waterbodies.

The Environment Agency, the University of Bristol, and NERC Centre for Ecology &Hydrology (CEH) have teamed up to help combat the spread of these three INNS.

The PlantTracker app, available free from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store by searching for planttracker (one word), or from the website http://planttracker.naturelocator.org/ shows how to identify each species and enables users to easily submit geo-located photos whenever they find one.
Claire Quigley from the Environment Agency said: “Invasive non-native plant species are a threat to native wildlife in the Midlands . We’d love everyone to help us to track them down. We will be able to use the information to determine the extent of the problem, find out where the worst cases are and provide evidence for Local Action Groups to develop project funding bids to tackle INNS in their communities.”
The app has been developed as part of the NatureLocator project, led by the University of Bristol , to enable members of the public to take part in biological survey work via their mobile phones.
This is a pilot project and the app is being trialled in the Midlands region to begin with. However, it is hoped that in subsequent years the project will be expanded to cover the whole of the UK . Records can be submitted from outside the Midlands but they may not be analysed straight away.
You download the app and then follow the progress of the project and the reports that are coming in via a blog on the project website http://planttracker.naturelocator.org/ , on twitter using #planttracker and @envagencymids, or at www.facebook.com/naturelocator
High quality photos of plants available on request or on flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/environment-agency - look for ‘INNS Images’.

-ends-

MORE INFORMATION Contact Press Office on 0121 711 5829 / 5855 / 5842
(these numbers can also be used during an emergency to contact a duty press officer)


Notes to Editors:

PlantTracker FAQs:
What are Invasive Non Native Species (INNS) and why are they a problem?
An INNS is any non-native animal or plant that has the ability to spread causing damage to the environment, the economy, our health and the way we live. INNS pose threats to biodiversity, increase flood risk, and affect the state of our water environment. INNS cost the British economy a minimum of £1.7 billion per annum.


Which INNS is PlantTracker tackling?
Japanese Knotweed - Common in urban areas, particularly on waste land, railways, road sides and river banks. Tall herbaceous perennial with bamboo-like stems. It contributes to river bank erosion and so increases the likelihood of flooding. It can cause structural damage (eg it can grow through asphalt). Spreads rapidly in the wild.

Himalayan Balsam - Found mostly on river banks and in damp woodland. Easy to identify when in flower with showy pink flowers. Can exceed 2m (6ft) in height and often grows in dense stands. It outcompetes our native plants, especially on river banks.

Floating Pennywort - Found in still or slowly moving freshwater. Kidney-shaped leaves often appear round and are up to 7cm (3 inches) across. Leaves either float on the water or are held slightly above it. Plant grows in mats that spread across the water surface. It can grow up to 20cm per day and smother waterbodies. Can outcompete native waterplants.

Why did you decide to develop an App to tackle INNS?
Obtaining accurate data about the distribution of invasive species is of paramount importance when it comes to assessing impact and formulating a response. But data provision is often patchy and records are usually unverifiable and lacking accurate geographic reference.

The PlantTracker project has addressed these problems by combining the development of a smartphone application with the power of crowd-sourcing data collection. Critically, each record collected is verifiable since it is comprised of a photograph along with other relevant metadata. Records are also accurately geo-located since the app utilises the phone’s inbuilt GPS capabilities.

Where has funding come from for the Planttracker App project?
70% of the funding has come from the Environment Agency, and 30% has come from the University of Bristol .

What we are going to do with the data that is submitted via the App?
We will be able to use the information to determine the extent of the problem, find out where the worst cases are and provide evidence for Local Action Groups to develop project funding bids to tackle INNS in their communities.

What if I don't live in the Midlands ? Can I still use the App?
If you are visiting the Midlands you can submit records while you are in the area. Records submitted from outside the Midlands will be analysed, just not as quickly as those from the Midlands . It is hoped that in subsequent years the project will be expanded to cover the whole of the UK .

What are boundaries?
The boundaries are the Midlands region which includes the counties of Lincolnshire , Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire, Leicestershire, Rutland and West Midlands .





Residents urged to complete survey

Online tourism survey!

 

Residents in and around Burton, Lichfield and Tamworth are being asked to complete an online tourism survey to help improve the recreational activities available in their area.

The short survey, which can be filled in on the internet by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/s/CSCFL7W is being conducted by the Central Rivers Initiative.

You can find it on CRI’s website too at www.centralrivers.org.uk - it’s easy to find, just internet search for Central Rivers.

The partnership is keen to find out what the most popular outdoor activities are in the area, and which tourist destinations are visited most.

Project Manager, Julie Wozniczka, said: ‘The results of the survey will be used alongside information about wildlife, flooding, tourism, transport etc to encourage quiet recreation activities and businesses in the right places. It will help us to make sure that careful extraction and restoration of the area’s many sand and gravel quarries will leave a sustainable network of wildlife habitats, public amenities and agricultural land.’

The Central Rivers Initiative is a partnership who are working together to shape and guide the progressive restoration and revitalisation of the river valley between Burton, Lichfield and Tamworth.

CRI will also be out with the survey at Wild about Tamworth at Castle Grounds on May 26th and at Staffordshire Show on June 7th.

For more information on the Initiative, visit the website or call 01889 880100.

Get Nose to Nose with Nature

Families can get up close and personal with snakes, newts, frogs and any other hopping and slithering creatures they can find at RSPB Middleton Lakes’ Nose to Nose with Nature event. No need to book, just turn up on Saturday 2 June at 10.30am for a couple of hours of fun. Small charge applies. All details can be found at www.rspb.org.uk/middletonlakes .

Nature reserve offers birdsong and breakfast

RSPB reserve Middleton Lakes is inviting people to celebrate International Dawn Chorus Day with them by joining in their Dawn Chorus Walk on Sunday 6 May, 4.30am - 7am. The early start may seem daunting, but an RSPB spokesman assured us “It will be well worth getting up early because the reserve is currently absolutely alive with all kinds of warblers and other songbirds. We’ll have a local expert helping to identify the birds as we go along, and there’ll be a well-deserved breakfast sandwich and hot drink waiting at the end.” To book a place, please ring 01827 259454 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . More details of this and other events at the reserve can be found at www.rspb.org.uk/middletonlakes .

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