New conservation sites planned

Published 1st August 2019

Sandwell Council is stepping up its efforts to provide more nature conservation sites across the borough in a bid to protect the local environment for people and wildlife. 

The proposals drawn up for sites across the borough aim to protect the special environmental characteristics of the areas - so that people will be encouraged to visit the sites, increasing their physical activity and improving their mental wellbeing.

The latest proposals include:

  • The designation of Massey’s Bank at Hawfield Road, Tividale, as a Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation
  • Upgrading land at Peakhouse Farm to a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation
  • Designating Tanhouse Avenue in Great Barr as a Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation
  • The extension of the Site of Importance for Nature Conservation at land east of Wilderness Woods and Wilderness Lane

The proposals have been drawn up by the council's planners following discussions with the Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country.

A report on the recommendations will go to next week’s cabinet meeting. 

The Massey’s Bank site is dominated by semi-natural grassland and plantation woodland but is ecologically important to Sandwell, primarily for the mosaic of habitats it supports. 

It is seen as important to the ecological network and part of the wider Rowley Hills. 

The Peakhouse Farm area is a traditional farmland habitat with an extensive network of native hedgerows and grassland habitat which provides moderate levels of species diversity. 

The site lies in a core ecological area and holds a critical position in connecting Sandwell Valley and inner areas of the conurbation to the wider countryside. 

Tanhouse Avenue includes a variety of semi-natural habitats, including grassland, woodland and hedgerows, and forms part of the extensive open space of Sandwell Valley. It has good connectivity into the larger landscape with vistas across the local nature reserve. 

Land to the east of Wilderness Woods and Wilderness Lane is seen as a 'stepping stone' to link urban areas of Sandwell to Walsall’s remnant countryside to the north. The site comprises wet and flooded areas.

The site also includes historic features including remnant defunct mature hedgerows, which historically define field boundaries of former agricultural landscapes.

Councillor Bob Lloyd, cabinet member for inclusive economic growth, said: “This is an important report and confirms that Sandwell is keen to protect these special areas which can be so important to wildlife and the local communities. 

“These green spaces help to improve the local environment and in turn makes the borough more attractive as a pace to live, work, enjoy recreation and to invest in.

“The borough now has just over 100 nature conservation sites, with several being designated in recent years."