Countryside In and Around Towns has always been an important area of work for the West Midlands with its centres of high populations and comparative lack of designated areas and accessible open countryside.
Building on our long history we are working with partners to realise the potential of the under-used urban fringe and to meet the demand for countryside on the doorstep of towns.
In the West Midlands we have been involved in many schemes and projects all working towards Natural England's vision.
The Green Arc Partnership (GAP) is a unique initiative that cuts across local authority and other administrative boundaries. The aim is to enhance the environment into the powerful regeneration impetus at work in the area around the north and east of Birmingham, the corridor through which the M6 Toll road has been constructed.
The Forest of Mercia covering 23,800 hectares of southern Staffordshire and parts of the West Midlands is one of the twelve Community Forests nationwide. Working with partners since 1991, this programme is creating a well-wooded landscape for wildlife, work and education with new opportunities for recreation on the doorstep of the Birmingham conurbation.
Building on community forestry best practice, we have also been supporting a national demonstration project in the North Staffordshire Regeneration Zone. The Potteries New Leaf Initiative, which finished in October 2005, promoted environmentally led regeneration as a means to transform the image of the area for businesses, inward investors and local communities.
The benefits of investing in new green infrastructures for environmental, social and economic regeneration in the region will span generations.