Black Country Blue Network – (Wolverhampton City Council)
NWE worked with partners across the Black Country, including local authorities, voluntary organisations and Government agencies to support Wolverhampton Council (as accountable body) in pulling together a major project to seek resources for European Structural Funding.
Black Country Blue Network will create a high quality ecological network with a diverse range of habitats, centred on the area’s historically important waterways and associated green spaces. This will be achieved through a three-year programme of infrastructure and habitat improvements improve habitats along canals and rivers in the Black Country as well as other key nature greenspaces linked into this blue network facilitating better visitor management and improved access for local communities. The outline bid was for £1.7 million ERDF out of a total project cost of £3.8 million. Following the DCLG’s response to the outline submission we have made further input, including GIS mapping of the projects and production of an evaluation strategy and the project is expecting final approval in the immediate future.
NWE organised two stakeholder workshop events and worked closely with all the partners and the Black Country technical Assistance Team. We were able to identify a strong unifying theme (the canal and river network) and bring together a wider range of projects and maximise the synergies between projects and existing strategic priorities. The project has been quoted as an exemplar by the DCLG who wish to encourage other innovative urban projects.