Chance to improve our wildlife habitats

April 08 2022

A NEW £1.26 million project to improve wildlife habitats and plant more than 6,000 new trees has been approved.

South Gloucestershire Council’s four-year Common Connections scheme will involve a total of 88 sites from Lyde Green in the north to Willsbridge in the south, from Wick in the east to Kingswood and Staple Hill in the west.

The council says it will involve “enhancements” to links between registered common land, unimproved grasslands, woodlands and nearby habitats.

There will be extensive tree planting, wildflower sowing, pond creation and restoration, along with the reintroduction of animal grazing on parts of Siston Common.

The project will also aim to raise awareness of conservation and biodiversity, and encourage people to visit the sites for their “health and well-being benefits”.

Council leader Toby Savage with Friends of Siston Common chair James Hackett

Council leader Toby Savage said: “South Gloucestershire’s green spaces are some of our most beloved places in local communities and I’m delighted to see this excellent project given the go ahead.

“We hope that by restoring natural habitats and better connecting the commons with other green spaces nearby, nature will be helped to thrive.

“This enhanced infrastructure of better-connected green spaces, managed in ways that support nature’s diversity of plants, insects and animals will also increase the area’s resilience to the impacts of climate change.

“Visiting green spaces and contact with nature provides a huge boost to our health and well-being. To help people enjoy our green spaces, we will be improving some popular footpaths and site entrances, as well as providing more benches so that visitors can rest and enjoy their experiences.

“In some areas, residents will also be able to apply for free tree saplings, wildflower seeds and nesting boxes, to bring more nature into their gardens and help to ensure nearby green spaces are better connected.”

Ten schools have signed up to participate in the project and learn about the importance of nature and biodiversity, create more spaces for nature in their grounds and contribute to nature conservation.

Volunteer groups will also be taking part.

Chair of the Friends of Siston Commons, James Hackett, said: “We are delighted with the news of the award and look forward to working with South Gloucestershire Council to deliver a project that helps to address biodiversity decline.

“There’s plenty of work to do, so anyone wishing to join the group is sure of a warm welcome.”

To take get inv9olved in the project, call 01454 868000 or email nature@southglos.gov.uk.

The project is being funded by just under £1 million from the West of England Combined Authority, £125,000 from the council’s climate action plan budget and £135,000 in grants.