Creating a new Arden Forest is a ‘bold and dramatic’ idea that will help achieve the council’s ambition of planting 250,000 trees in the borough in the next decade.
I welcomed the huge programme of planting, which is part of a project named after the historic woodland which once covered great swathes of the region.
The concept of creating a new Forest of Arden is a bold and dramatic idea that sets out a greener future for the borough, while also linking to our past.
The idea is to create interconnected habitats across the borough, effectively ‘rewilding’ areas to create a continuous corridor of greenery.
This would not only provide vital green connectivity, but it would also help to deal with air pollution, carbon capture and habitat creation for wildlife.
The forest project will build on the work of the flagship Wildlife Ways project, which also put great emphasis on "linking up" green spaces which have become increasingly fragmented - creating problems for wildlife.
The idea also linked with his calls for planning reform to better protect Solihull’s green belt. It also reflects our wider ambition to create a new kind of National Park across the West Midlands.
Councillor Ian Courts, Leader of Solihull Council and the environment portfolio holder for the West Midlands Combined Authority said: “Over the last couple of years Solihull’s Wildlife Ways team and our contractors as part of this project alone have planted over a thousand trees across the borough, along with millions of bulbs and wildflowers.
“As well as making our streets and green spaces look even more beautiful, the planting supports and encourages wildlife and will improve our air quality dramatically.
“The Arden Forest concept will deliver even more greenery to the borough and the new woodland between Shirley and Dickens Heath is in line with this vision, but we want to do much more"
These ideas not only support our work to recharge and rebuild the region in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic but will also help achieve our ambitions for a greener, healthier and more inclusive region that tackles the climate emergency and reaches net-zero carbon emissions by 2041.
For many people, nature has been a lifeline during the pandemic.
Creating a new Arden Forest will ensure that local people can continue to engage with nature on the doorstep, long after the pandemic has ended.
Kingshurst Shopping Centre is another area set for a major revamp.