On Tuesday 4th March Manchester City Council’s bureaucracy will do something that is both note-worthy and praise-worthy. It will … present a “work in progress” document for inspection by elected members of the Council. The Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy (green = parks etc, blue = canals, lakes etc) will be examined by members of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee, at their 2pm meeting in the Town Hall Extension. (The meeting is open to public, no need to book).
As the summary at the beginning of the 25 page document says –
“Mapping of the city’s Green Infrastructure (GI), partner consultation, evidence base scoping and research was undertaken in 2013. This identified the need for a robust local evidence base to be produced to underpin the strategy, for GI to be embedded across a range of Council policy documents, and the key role that external partners could play in its delivery.
This report provides a summary of the work to date. It describes the need to establish a clear understanding of the value of the city’s GI, in terms of its contribution to a range of social, economic and environmental objectives, and the work currently underway to establish this evidence base. It also provides an overview of a range of on-the-ground activities, setting out that work to continue to enhance the city’s GI resource is ongoing, running in parallel with the development of the strategy….
We asked our resident biodiversity expert Dave Bishop for questions and comments. He sent in the following –
1. Will the Council ensure that, in local green spaces, a proper balance is struck between visitor access and the conservation of biodiversity? In the past – particularly in the Mersey Valley – there has been an overwhelming emphasis on the former and the latter has been almost completely neglected.
2. Will provisions be put in place to manage Sites of Biological Importance (SBIs) and Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) in accordance with their written management plans?
3. Will provisions be put in place to ensure that linear features in the local environment, e.g. railway and tram tracks, roadside verges, cycle tracks and river and canal banks, are managed in such a way that they can act as viable wildlife corridors connecting together green spaces such as SBIs, LNRs, parks and gardens?
with the following recommendations.
1. Remember that tree planting is not a universal panacea for biodiversity loss. Any planted trees should be certified ‘disease free’ (remember Ash Die-back!).
2. Species-rich grassland is much more biodiverse than planted woodland. Ensure that any remaining scraps are conserved and appropriately managed. Create new ones using seed which is appropriate for the area.
3. Create more ponds.
The meeting starts at 2pm., with the Strategy one of the first agenda items. Dave Bishop and MCFly editor Marc Hudson plan to be there, and would welcome other folks who want to see democracy inaction.