Earlier this year, Milton Keynes Council committed to becoming the first carbon-negative town in the United Kingdom by 2050.
Now, along with charity The Parks Trust, which cares for local green space, lakes and ancient woodlands, the council has signalled another step in its approach to tackling climate change.
Milton Keynes has announced an aspiration to become a National Park City and living showcase for how climate change can be tackled through biodiversity, with an ambitious end goal to become one of the greenest cities in the world.
The vision is based around:
- Conserving and protecting existing sites of biodiversity and wildlife.
- Restoring and managing species and habitats so they can adapt to, and mitigate a changing climate.
- Creating new, green infrastructure that takes account of the way ecosystems work.
- Inspiring greater engagement between local people and natural environments.
Early ideas include improving the diversity of local habitats, increasing tree stock, connecting woodland and increasing flood resilience, but a full plan of action will be unveiled in spring 2020.
The plan is being developed collaboratively between Council, Parks Trust and partners. Workshops on the impact of water, nature and trees will take place from 25 and 26 November, and the Council is inviting professionals and amateur experts to be part of the conversation.
“In Milton Keynes, we have biodiversity and the climate crisis at the heart of our future” explains Cllr Emily Darlington, Cabinet Member for the Public Realm.
“We already have a head start in our ambition to be the greenest city with our outstanding green infrastructure. Corridors linking key strategic reserves were an integral part of the borough’s original design.”
“We’re also a place where collaboration is a very normal part of doing business, which makes conversations like these a lot easier.”
She added: “The health of our biodiversity is a testament to the health of the city. We need to protect the 5B’s; bees, bugs, butterflies, bats and birds. These lovely creatures are some of our most vulnerable and form key parts of the ecosystem.”
“We are also the home to the endangered Great crested newt and increasingly home to the dormice. I am proud of our record in creating the right environment for these creatures to thrive.”
“This is a crisis on a global scale but local authorities, working with partners are in a unique position with access to land and the control to make sure it’s managed to promote the highest opportunities for biodiversity.”
She concluded: “We intend to take some big steps forward and we hope others can learn from our experience.”
Philip Bowsher, Head of Environment and Volunteering at The Parks Trust said: “We support the principles that Milton Keynes Council are adopting for the green environment of Milton Keynes and look forward to working with them, and other partners, towards delivering this vision.”