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From the organisers of

Flood plain plan

English Nature environmentalists say a landmark partnership with industry will help transform the riverscape between Tamworth and Burton, in Staffordshire.

The joint project to create a code of practice to guide development along the rivers Tame and Trent is unique to the region. Minerals firms, local authorities, a power generation firm and environmental organizations have all worked together on the scheme. Their aim is to guide mineral extraction, recreation, nature conservation and access on 6,000ha of flood plain.

A project manager will be appointed to seek ways of improving riverside habitats and to ensure that planning proposals for the area meet the new code's rules. The aim of the plan is to increase the diversity of plants and animals in the area, and gradually restore the riverside with more reed beds, wet grassland and pollarded willows along the bank. Only quiet and non-intrusive recreation and watersports will be allowed near sensitive habitats to minimize the effects on wildlife. These areas will also be kept free of access routes to the river. Sand and gravel extraction will continue but companies must ensure their sites are fully restored after use.

The Central Rivers Project is aimed at guiding development for at least the next 20 years. Among its effects could be the return of the rare bittern to the floodplain. All of the project partners helped fund the scheme. Among those involved are Bardon Aggregates, Hanson Aggregates and Lafarge Redland Aggregates. Other partners include English Nature, Staffordshire County Council, East Staffordshire and Lichfield district councils, Eastern Generation, The National Forest Company, National Memorial Arboretum and the Environment Agency. Non-funding organizations which have advised the partnership include the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.


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