New nature reserves cement Telford and Wrekin’s status as one of England’s greenest urban boroughs

Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet has today approved proposals to declare six new Local Nature Reserve sites across the borough and extend a further two existing sites, reinforcing the borough’s status as one of England’s greenest urban local authorities.

New nature reserves cement Telford and Wrekin’s status as one of England’s greenest urban boroughs

The decision adds further protections to diverse natural habitats across Telford and Wrekin, supporting biodiversity and increasing residents’ access to wellbeing-boosting natural spaces. 

The report presented to cabinet also highlighted that the proliferation of Local Nature Reserves across the borough has put nature on the doorstep of more residents, reporting that 70% of visits to these sites are made by foot or bike, further supporting the council’s climate action agenda.

‘Local Nature Reserve’ (LNR) is a statutory designation which reflects an owner’s commitment to managing the site for conservation purposes or for a combination of conservation and recreational purposes. Sites comprise a wide array of natural habitats.

Telford and Wrekin’s newly declared sites include a variety of areas of grassland, scrub, wooded pit mounds, broadleaved woodland, gorse and bracken heathland, in addition to lakes and pools that are home to great crested newts and a number of native insects.

The six new LNR sites, which comprise an additional 116 hectares, are:

  1. Central Hall (5ha) in Donnington
  2. Heath Hill and Pool Hill (13ha) in Dawley & Aqueduct 
  3. Holmer Lake with Kemberton Meadow and Mounds (30ha) in Madeley & Sutton Hill, The Nedge and Brookside 
  4. Horsehay Pool with Simpsons Pool (7ha) in Horsehay & Lightmoor
  5. Snedshill and the Flash (48ha) in Priorslee and St Georges 
  6. Langley Fields (13ha) in Malinslee & Dawley Bank 

Existing Local Nature Reserve Sites that will now be extended are Dothill LNR (by 12ha) in Dothill, Shawbirch, Admaston & Bratton, and Granville LNR (by 23ha) in Muxton.

Once the new sites have been formally recognised by Natural England they will join 17 existing sites previously designated by the council, bringing the total number of LNRs in Telford and Wrekin to 23, covering an area of 707ha.

This figure – signifying that Telford and Wrekin has 3.8ha of Local Nature Reserve land for every 1,000 people in the borough – is almost four times above Natural England’s recommended minimum of just 1ha per 1,000 people. 

The borough also ranks extremely favourably when judged alongside comparable local authorities. A report featured in Town & Country Planning in 2021 placed Telford and Wrekin second only to Canterbury among the 27 ‘urban local authorities’ that it analysed for Local Nature Reserve area per resident.

The report found that each hectare of LNR land in Telford and Wrekin is shared by just 389 residents (now estimated at 380 residents following today’s announcement).

In comparison, each hectare in Stoke-on-Trent must be shared by 984 residents; in Hereford, each hectare is shared by 3,409 residents; while in Oxford residents must share each hectare between 23,000 of them.

Cllr Carolyn Healy, cabinet member for climate change, green spaces, natural and historic environment and cultural services, said:

“What this means is that, as a partly urban borough, we are massively punching above our weight when it comes to natural spaces.

“More importantly, it means that everyone in our borough has a huge amount of green space that they are free to access. As a council, we recognise that our residents value these sites and we are on their side.

“Our green spaces are so important – a haven for those seeking to bolster their mental and physical health, a place where we can protect and reconnect with the natural environment, and a free activity in an ever more expensive world.

“That’s why we’re creating these new Local Nature Reserves and actively investing in their improvement, increasing our total area of declared reserves by more than 25%, so that everyone has nature nearby.”

Find out more about Local Nature Reserves in Telford and Wrekin