Registered Charity No. 702429

ENVIRONMENT MATTERS

Environment Policy

The Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust is enrolled as an Environmental Body under the Landfill Tax Credit Scheme.

The Trust is concerned to ensure that its restoration activities protect and enhance the natural environment and the wildlife habitats along the Lichfield and Hatherton canals corridors.

The Trust will seek to restore the waterway ecology that developed in harmony with its operational functions during the 150 years of the canal’s working life, but was extinguished when the canals were abandoned and filled in.

The Trust will seek guidance from British Waterways and apply the BW Environmental Code of Practice to ensure construction and maintenance techniques are consistent with the current best practice.

The Trust will liaise with other appropriate environmental bodies such as the Environment Agency, English Nature, and local Wildlife Trusts and will support County and Local Authority Biodiversity Action Plans in re-creating waterway and waterside habitats appropriate to the local terrain.


To put environmental matters on a more formal basis, the Trust commissioned an Environmental Report. This summarises the history, route and restoration scheme proposals for the Lichfield Canal before dealing in detail with environmental issues, followed by a summary of probable Impacts, Environmental Benefits and Dis-benefits (some during the construction phase) and then Mitigation Measures required. The Mitigation Measures can be achieved by the adoption of an Environmental Action Plan and by following the British Waterways Environmental Code of Practice. The final section of the Report covers additional enhancement possibilities in the form of a Bio-diversity Action Plan and Habitat Creation.

In summary, it would seem that if the Trust continues to take appropriate advantage of opportunities where these can be fitted into the land available then we shall be able to demonstrate in accordance with the accepted criteria that the environmental benefits more than exceed the dis-benefits. Copies of the Report have been circulated to Lichfield District Council and Lichfield City Council and Staffordshire County Council, also the Environment Agency, British Waterways, English Nature and Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.

In 1999 the Trust commissioned Ed Sharkey Associates, Landscape Architects and Environmental Consultants, to prepare a report
outlining the potential impacts and environmental benefits and disbenefits of a restoration of the Lichfield Canal.
The report was completed in February 2000.
Click on the link at the bottom of the page for details.



Mike Battisson planting marsh plants on the
environmental wetlands area at Darnford Site.
(photo Jan Horton)
NATURE TEAM
In Cut Both Ways Issue 32, Summer 2002, we announced that Mike Battisson had volunteered to co-ordinate a new "Nature Team" to do such jobs as planting and environmental-type activities on the Lichfield Canal restoration sites.

Things have moved on a lot since then. Mike was co-opted as Environment Director in 2003 and formally elected at the 2004 AGM.

Anyone who is interested in helping, please phone Mike on 01543 300090.


From 1990, when we began work at Fosseway, the Trust has always been aware of responsibilities to the environment. Whilst in general it seemed common sense that the re-creation of a waterway and associated hedgerows etc. in place of derelict land or farm land will increase both the range of species and their quantity, nevertheless care has to be exercised in the way that the work is carried out. At Darnford there is a badger sett and so plans were drawn up which avoided disturbing it and advantage was taken of adjacent surplus land for the Trust to plant a new copse.


The wildflower meadow at Darnford, planted by the Trust's Environmental Team
View from Darnford Lane looking down towards the lift bridge from near Darnford Moors. (photo by Bobbie Battisson)


ECOLOGY MATTERS
(Extract from Cut Both Ways No.36, Summer 2003)
Helping to Repel the Second Armada

Recently, you may have read in the weekend supplements or magazines of concern being expressed over the threat to the survival of our natural British bluebell. (These are a protected species and to take bulbs from the wild is illegal, although collecting seed is not). As a result of this, garden centres and suppliers are now importing a Spanish variety for sale to gardeners all over the country.

Not only do Spanish bluebells differ in appearance to ours but they are stronger, and unfortunately they happily interbreed (no race relations problem here!). This produces a more vigorous hybrid and results in a threat to the existence of our native variety. So great is the concern that a countrywide survey has been conducted through the Internet to establish where the remaining British colonies still survive and flourish.

In conjunction with this, I visited Hopwas Hays woods, between Lichfield and Tamworth, in late April, and was delighted to find a beautiful carpet of intense blue - all British with not a Spaniard in view! This is a magical sight in the early morning; one well worth a visit next year.

By coincidence, the Hopwas Woods are only a few kilometers from our Darnford Lane site where several years ago an area adjacent to the now abandoned Lock 29 was replanted with a variety of broad leafed trees. These have now settled in well and are flourishing close by the lift bridge. The woodland plants below are also beginning to regenerate but no bluebells yet, native or foreign.


A copy of a scan of pressed bluebell flowers - English on the left, Spanish on the right.

This would appear to be a good opportunity to help with the native recovery and we hope by the time you read this, members of the Environment Support Team will have collected seed from Hopwas and sown this at Darnford. One small step for British bluebell recovery.

If you are interested in this aspect of the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals restoration and would enjoy helping with projects of this nature by joining the Team please let me know.

Mike Battisson
Environmental Support Team Leader (01543 300090)

More information about the British bluebell and the survey may be seen on the website: www.plantlife.org.uk/bluebell/home.htm


TWO AWARDS FOR THE ENVIRONMENTAL TEAM


It is nice to be able to report two items of good news, which amount to a breakthrough in helping the Trust to prove its Green credentials.

The first item resulted from Jan Horton's appeal for support from the West Midlands Co-op. In September 2003 they generously awarded us a grant of £250 to spend on environmental recovery along the canals. Accordingly this has been used to purchase a Stihl chain saw. This will greatly reduce the backbreaking effort needed to re-lay the many kilometres of neglected hedgerows we need to recover over the next few years. Our grateful thanks are offered to the West Midlands Co-op for their generosity.

The second success is also related to canal environmental recovery. Mike Battisson, the Trust's Environmental Officer and his team have been attempting to introduce native British bluebells in the broadleaf copse established by Trust members near to the Darnford Lane lift bridge. This recovery programme was submitted to the West Midlands Wildlife Trust for consideration for an award.

The good news is: we won it.

Mike's planting of trees and wild flowers at the Darnford Lane site, together with the Trust's policy of protecting wildlife in the area, landed us the West Midlands Wildlife Trusts Conservation Award, Community Category for 2003. These awards are sponsored by npower and seek to reward and publicise examples of good practise in nature conservation. Apart from the accolade, recognised by a very handsome plaque, the prize also carries a cheque for £100 (perhaps to buy more wild flower seed). In addition, we will go forward to compete for the title of overall winner for the full Midlands region.


Phil Hawkins of West Midlands Co-op presenting
the new chainsaw to Mike Battisson and Brian Kingshott
(Photo courtesy of West Midlands Co-op)
 
Graham Peak of West Midlands Wildlife Trusts and
Liz Gater of npower present Mike Battisson with his award
(Photo courtesy of npower)


On Saturday 6th May 2006 staff from Trust Sponsors Dains Accountants fulfilled a long standing promise to confirm their Company’s commitment to the environment by participating in a bulb planting exercise along the towpath-side banks at the back of Lock 26 on the Tamworth Road in Lichfield.

Patience had been necessary to wait until restoration volunteers had completed much of the excavation and building work needed to restore the towpath wall.

Many thanks are due to Dains’ sterling volunteer group (On the far right) Stuart Hickson with Hilary Smith LHCRT Trust member who co-ordinated the planting (next from the right), then Verona Murphy and Kate Griffiths, with Mike Battisson in typical pose (his words) leaning on a fork ‘supervising?’

The bulbs principally bluebells, but also some single snowdrops had been collected from local gardens by Hilary and Mike Battisson but hugely supplemented by a collection given by Pat and Peter Magee, many thanks to them also.

They all agreed to return at the same time next year by which time the results of their labours should there for all to enjoy.


Mike Battisson, Kate Griffiths, Verona Murphy, Hilary Smith and Stuart Hickson

For more pictures Click here.


WOODEN BIRD BOXES FOR SALE
A well constructed wooden bird nesting box
made by Lichfield Probation Service and donated to the Trust for community benefit.
Because of the size and weight of this item it is not economic to post it.
We will deliver free in the Lichfield/Burntwood area, or buyer can collect

Height 15 inches (38cm) x Width 6 inches (15cm) x Depth 7 inches (23cm).
Price £5.00
Available to buy on our Sales Page



Back to top of page
Sharkey Associates Environmental Report


About Us | Membership | Contact Us | News | Lichfield Canal | Hatherton Canal | Working Parties | Noticeboard | Environment | Diary Dates
Strategy | Links | Cut Both Ways | Sales | David Suchet Appeal | Brick Appeal | Online Donations | Regular Giving Scheme | 500 Club | Photo Gallery


© L&HCRT Ltd.
All other trademarks are acknowledged as belonging
to their respective owners. All rights reserved.
Website designed by NelTek
www.neltek.com      info@neltek.com