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RSPB plans new Solway coast reserve

Improved visitor experience to form part of proposals for Wigtown Bay scheme

By Pete Hayman

A new coastal nature reserve and visitor experience is being planned for the Solway Firth, Scotland, under plans revealed by RSPB Scotland. The conservation group has

acquired more than 150 hectares (371 acres) of saltmarsh and floodplain on the western coast of Wigtown Bay to progress the proposals. Scottish Natural Heritage

(SNH) has provided £200,000 towards the scheme, although an additional £525,000 is still required in order to enable RSPB Scotland to transform the area into a new reserve. The site, which is regarded as

an important stopping-off point for birds migrating south, is set to benefit from an increase in wet grassland and

IN BRIEF

Council holds Sheffield park consultation

Sheffield City Council has held a

The Crook of Baldoon will form part of the coastal nature reserve

RSPB Scotland aims to provide easy access for visitors. Dave Beaumont, regional

reserves manager for south and west Scotland at RSPB Scotland, said: "We now have a fantastic opportunity to protect this magical place as a vital haven for wildlife as well as a tranquil place for people to enjoy."

SNH area manager Chris

Miles added: "The RSPB proposals for this site fit well with the marketing of the Wigtown Book Town and the

‘Wigtown Bay Ospreys Project'. "[The proposals] complement

the growing reputation of Dumfries and Galloway for outstanding wildlife tourism."

EU funding for Norfolk Broads green tourism plans

By Pete Hayman

Plans to introduce a number of green tourism projects on the

Norfolk Broads have received a E500,000 (£434,384) boost from the European Union (EU). The Broads Authority will

launch a new tourism website at the end of May as a result of the funding, while a range of other initiatives are also in line to net a share of the funding. Improvements to visitor

facilities between Ludham Bridge and How Hill; the introduction of a new conserva- tion fund; and an increase in the number of waterway electricity charging points are among the projects mooted. The funding has been made

available by the Sustainable Tourism in Estuary Parks (STEP) initiative, part of the European

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consultation to gather comments on plans to enhance an area of green space in the heart of the South Yorkshire city. Residents in the St Vincent's quarter were asked to give views on efforts to increase the size of the space between Edward Street and Upper Allen Street. Plans include the remodelling of the existing ball games area as a multi-purpose arena with sitting walls and terraces; the creation of a new artificial grass surface and new public art. Electrical supplies to help support community entertainment and events is also included as part of the scheme.

Council unveils Bramall Hall consultation

Stockport Council has unveiled

a new public consultation in a bid to gather comments on its plans to revitalise Bramhall Hall and Park, Cheshire. The consultation exercise, which commenced in April and will run throughout May, aims to help develop a new

"holistic and sustainable" strategy to guide the site's management. Local residents can view the plans at Vernon Park Museum until 18 May, having previously been put on public display at Bramhall and Central Libraries.

The money will be used to improve the Broads' visitor experience

Regional Development Fund's Interreg Two Seas programme. Ian Russell, chair of the

Broads Tourism Forum, said:

"Funding of this type presents a range of wonderful opportuni- ties to deliver new initiatives which will help improve the visitor experience." The Broads Authority head of tourism Bruce Hanson said: "It

provides a great boost for sustainable tourism in the Broads and we are particularly pleased to be working very closely with the Broads Tourism Forum to achieve our aims." As part of the STEP project,

the Broads will be working with Biesbosch National Park in Holland and a protected area around Kruibeke in Belgium.

Forestry sector to discuss Scottish issues

A range of key issues – such as the use of timber in construction

– set to affect the Scottish forestry sector in the coming years are due to be debated by industry representatives at a major conference on 2 June. Organised by the Confederation of Forest Industries and Forestry Commission Scotland, the Low Carbon Economy conference will include a speech from Richard Lochhead, cabinet secretary for rural affairs and the environment.

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