Just a few of the projects from 2020:
There will always be change and any town that has substantial developments and highways proposals will have challenges, but we are doing our very best within current legislation to deliver developments that respect the countryside and enhance biodiversity where possible.
In Wichelstowe, we have amphibian and wildlife highways under new roads and substantial areas set aside as protected habitats. We have delivered additional sections of canal in addition to those already delivered in East Wichel and the first in Swindon in 100 years. These sections of canal are great wildlife habitats, with ambitions by the Canal Trust to connect to the sections in Wootton Bassett and beyond.
We are a leader in the Natural England District Newt Licensing Scheme with applications for new ponds and habitats in Mouldon Hill, Chiseldon and Bishopstone (on the farm belonging to the Chair of the Soil Association).
All major developments have to carry out detailed ecological surveys and provide management plans.
Our new roads are providing wild flower roundabouts, verges, and miles of new native hedgerow and tree planting.
We have participated in the new ‘Trees for Climate’ Initiative and have ambitious plans to increase tree cover to 30% in the Borough. We have substantial funds for new tree planting in the New Eastern Villages.
We have our ‘Urban Meadows’ scheme which is now in its second year, working with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust increasing biodiversity by additional wildflower meadow planting and improving local watercourses such as Rivermead.
For the New Eastern Villages (NEV) we have already purchased land and planted 4000+ Trees and wild flower plugs. New paths and cycle routes will accompany the new roads. We have a major wildlife park within Lotmead to come forward and the NEV development will feature green corridors between the development islands as well as wetland areas and one of the greenest cycling/walking networks of any new development.
The above are a fraction of the measures under way in the Borough and we can be proud of our commitment to creating a greener Borough than the one we inherited and where we have the North Wessex Downs AONB and the Ridgeway Trail within our Borough Boundary.
Swindon Borough Council has committed to going carbon neutral by 2030 as councillors step up the fight against climate change
Gary Sumner – your Ridgeway Ward Councillor