What is Wildlife Ways about?
Wildlife Ways is a three year programme of works to make Solihull greener by opening up and improving existing routes, so allowing wildlife to flourish. The project will also help encourage more people to walk and cycle across the borough.
It will improve 69km of existing footpath and cycle networks. There will be 23km of new footways and improved access for cyclists. The routes will be landscaped and link, where possible, existing green spaces and offer sustainable transport options. The project will improve the habitat value of 56 hectares of parks and open spaces for the benefit of people and wildlife – more than 90 football pitches!
How much does it cost and who is paying for the work?
The cost of the scheme is £16.8 million. The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is providing approximately half of this, with significant contributions from the National Productivity Investment Fund and West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA). So there is no contribution from local council tax.
Why aren’t you spending the money on other services?
The funding has been allocated specifically for this work and so cannot be spent on anything else.
Will there be any disruption?
Most works are on footpaths so there will be little disruption to traffic. Pedestrians will be directed along alternative safe routes where appropriate.
Will trees be affected?
The new cycle paths have been developed with the council’s landscape architects and tree officers to keep tree removal to a minimum. Some trees need to be removed if they cannot be retained without damaging the paths. We are planting approximately 800 new trees over the next few years.
The project also includes some woodland management which builds on work already undertaken by our Habitat and Nature Improvements Project. Initially this may look quite severe, but it is necessary to protect the long-term future of woods, trees, plants and animals. This will include removal of some unhealthy trees or those preventing other trees from thriving.