Paris Climate Change Conference – How Wednesfield Fits In!

I want to use the International Climate Conference that is taking place in Paris as a platform to inform you that the proposals that I have been propagating for a Local Nature Reserve on the Wyrley & Essington Canal, will help climate change by playing a part in reducing ‘Greenhouse gases’ here in our City.

My enthusiasm for this canal is well documented and I have been trying to get the canal designated a Local Nature Reserve since 2007. It is a very special heritage transport corridor. Built to move coal from the Pits in South Staffordshire to  urban centres across the region.

Its because of its age and the fact that Mother Nature has been such an influence, that today we are left with an historic heritage that has been so beautifully sculptured by trees, hedges and natural development in many forms.

In todays modern world the Wyrley & Essington canal is still vitally important to retain and use, cherish and develop.


Bentley Bridge – Wednesfield

Our 200 year old canal  system now lends itself to helping this modern world to save carbon, as well providing home and habitat for valuable wildlife. The canal built in the 1790’s, is a heritage feature and it has grown into a  wonderful green corridor. It is this reason why I place so much endeavour and  importantance that it becomes a Local Nature Reserve. The canal allows narrow boats to use its tranquil waters, the tow path for  walking , running, leisure activity, bird watching etc, all taking  place in stunning  surroundings.

Wolverhampton & Walsall Councils along with the Canal & River Trust have commissioned an environmental study to provide evidence. In that environmental study undertaken as part of the work taking place,  behind the scene to deliver an LNR that stretches from Wolverhampton through Wednesfield and extends to Brownhills. Is this following information.

“Woodlands are climax ecosystems and important for carbon storage, pollution diffusion, providing shade against the potential harmful UV rays as well as providing home to many 1000s of species. Insects utilise woodland for habitat, providing birds and other fauna with a constant food source. Oak trees support a larger group of organisms than any other tree species and are a valuable timber resource making them an important member of the canal ecosystem. Combining oak trees with other tree species, such as fruit trees, will increase the variety of food sources and habitats.”

This is a key statement in the plan to develop the canal as a Local Nature Reserve.

There is already very rare water plants in the canal, such as Water Plantain, and it is home to a wide variety of fish, and mammals including and I quote.  “Sections of the W&E canal are enriched with rare aquatic plants including Floating Water-Plantain (Luronium Natans*) which is on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.  The species is exceptionally rare within the UK and to be found in such abundance within the W&E Canal conveys a considerable significance upon the location.

It goes onto say “Many different mammals utilise the canal, such as Water Voles (Arvicola terrestris*) and Otters (Lutra lutra*). Bats use the terrestrial edges of the canal and include species such as Soprano Pipistrelle (Pipistellus pygmaeus*), and Brown Long-eared Bat (Plecotus auritus*) whilst the Daubenton’s Bat (Myotis daubentonii), can be found foraging over the canal.”

photo 2 Wednesfield Canal

Moathouse Lane (Dump) Bridge Wyrley & Essington Canal

Just from this little snippet of the report you can see why the canal has become such a treasured and valuable asset to those residents living near its meandering cutting. I am pleased that we are promoting such an important leisure asset, and I am happy to couple the benefits of our canal here in Wednesfield, with the negotiations that are taking place on the international stage in Paris….Indeed I would say that achieving our goal here will do much to retain a feature that will play its part in saving our World .

Phil Bateman

Phil Bateman is Married to Mary and lives in Wednesfield North. He was a long serving local politician having served previously on the now defunct West Midlands County Council... read more


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