Wilder St Albans initiative receives green light

The HMWT garden by Verulamium Park could form part of the Wilder St Albans project.

The HMWT garden by Verulamium Park could form part of the Wilder St Albans project. - Credit: Archant

Things are getting wild across the district as part of a new project to improve wildlife and biodiversity.

The Wilder St Albans project is the brainchild of St Albans Environment Action Group, an organisation of residents, councillors and interest groups that works alongside the council to achieve environmental change.

The initiative will be run in conjunction with Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust using a £100,000 grant for the next two years.

HMWT will compile a full audit of the district’s habitats and species to form the basis of the Wilder St Albans plan.

A Wilder St Albans project officer will be recruited to develop the plan and help community groups deliver projects which conserve and increase wildlife habitats.

The projects will be promoted on a Wilder St Albans website which will also become a forum for ideas and detail progress, and residents will be encouraged to get involved and put forward their own wilding schemes.

Council leader Cllr Chris White, portfolio holder for climate and environment, said: “To be successful, we will need the active support of our residents and I’m pleased to say that a number of community groups have already approached us about taking part in wilding projects.

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“Such projects can improve the look of our neighbourhoods, create better conditions for wildlife to flourish and also help reduce the effect of CO2 emissions through carbon capture.

“This initiative, underpinned by substantial funding, shows how determined we are to better our environment and work with residents and partner organisations like Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust to do so.”

Lesley Davies, Chief Executive of HMWT, said: ““We are looking forward to working with residents and community groups in the district, helping them to contribute to making the dstrict a place where wildlife thrives.”

Green councillor Simon Grover, one of the coordinators of the St Albans Environment Action Group, said, “It’s fantastic that this exciting project has got the go-ahead. It will create countless opportunities for people to get involved in improving our environment and fighting the climate emergency. It will also bring together and promote the dozens of individual projects that people across the district are already involved in.”

The council is already working on a number of wilding initiatives across the district, including green roofs, tree planting and the enhancement of the Quaker Garden in Victoria Street as part of the City Centre Opportunity Site South development.