Press Release: 3rd April 2014

£1.7 million funding awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund to restore the Tame Valley

Over £1.7 million has been secured for an ambitious and exciting new scheme to restore the landscape of the Tame Valley between Birmingham and Tamworth, in North Warwickshire and south-east Staffordshire. The 104 km² area follows 29 km of the River Tame and its surrounding wetland landscape and will aim to restore both built and natural heritage features, whilst reconnecting local people with their environment. The funding, awarded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, will enable a £2.5 million scheme to take place over the next four years. The cash comes as a welcome boost for this degraded and hidden landscape, heavily influenced by human activity and further threatened by potential future development.

The success comes as a result of detailed development and consultation work over the last few years and strong partnership working forged over the last decade. Led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, the Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership is made up of 18 partner organisations, including the Canal & River Trust, Environment Agency, RSPB, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, and Parish, Borough and County Councils. The Environment Agency is also providing significant cash funding.

Tim Haselden, Development Officer for the Partnership said “We are absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has decided to support our proposals to help improve the River Tame and its floodplain. Our work will help local people discover, and be inspired by, the wealth of wildlife and heritage on their doorsteps, whilst protecting the area for the future. We can only do this by working at a landscape scale and as a partnership of organisations working closely with the local community”.

Reyahn King, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands, said: “We are delighted to support this many-layered project that will restore and reconnect a fragmented landscape, creating new habitats, strengthening biodiversity, engaging local communities and providing people with new skills and training opportunities.” 

The scheme will begin in the coming weeks, with work beginning in earnest from late summer this year. To get involved or to find out more about this exciting new scheme, visit the website at www.discovertamevalley.com and follow the Partnership on Twitter @thetamevalley.

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Notes for Editors:

1. The Tame Valley Wetlands Partnership (TVWP) has been in existence for nine years, with the vision of ‘creating a wetland landscape, rich in wildlife and accessible to all’. There are 18 active partner organisations on the Partnership and the Board is made up of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (lead partner), Canal & River Trust, Environment Agency, North Warwickshire Borough Council, RSPB, Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Warwickshire County Council.

2. The Tame Valley Wetlands Landscape Partnership Scheme (TVWLPS) will receive £1.7 million funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) over the next 4 years, which will enable a £2.5 million scheme to be delivered. Some of this cost will be funded by partners, through cash contributions and in-kind support (with particular thanks to the Environment Agency). The remaining funding will be secured by the TVWP over the life of the scheme. The scheme will cover a 104 km² area of the Tame Valley between Birmingham and Tamworth, in North Warwickshire and south-east Staffordshire. More details can be found at www.discovertamevalley.com.

Work will focus on conserving and enhancing approximately 50 hectares of river and wetland habitat and restoring two Grade II listed structures on the canal network. The scheme includes the development of the Tame Way – linking, enhancing and promoting a network of footpaths, bridleways and cycle routes between Birmingham and Tamworth. Plans are also in place for a new interpretation centre at Kingsbury Water Park and an interactive website and phone app, providing easily accessible information and resources to help people explore and discover the Tame Valley Wetlands.

The initiative will also provide volunteering and training opportunities for local people and support groups working to look after their local area. A series of events and activities will also be delivered, with the aim of engaging with hundreds of school children, young people and members of the public. Informal training will be provided through taster days, with the chance for people to learn new skills and improve their CVs through more formal, accredited training programmes.

Wetlands provide a vital role in reducing flooding and improving water quality, whilst their biodiversity-rich habitats also provide an important home for wildlife and a place for sensitive recreation and relaxation. The Tame Valley Wetlands are a ‘blue-green lung’ in an area of the country otherwise dominated by transport routes and development.

3. Warwickshire Wildlife Trust (WWT) is the lead partner on the TVWP and TVWLPS. They are the leading local environmental charity, which works for people and wildlife in Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull.  The Trust looks after 56 nature reserves (c. 800 hectares) and is a voluntary membership organisation supported by more than 23,000 members and 500 volunteers. They promote a better natural environment for local wildlife and local people as part of the aim to create a Living Landscape in the West Midlands where wildlife and local people can live and thrive together. For more information see www.warwickshirewildlifetrust.org.uk and on Twitter @WKWT.

4. The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) wildlifetrusts.org. There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. They have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of the junior branch Wildlife Watch. Their vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas.  They manage 2,256 nature reserves covering more than 90,000 hectares and every year advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. They also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife.  Every year they work with thousands of schools and their nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors.  Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas. The Tame Valley Wetlands is one of these Living Landscape priority areas.

For more information, please contact us.