This year Birmingham residents will have a unique opportunity to share their vision for the city and how planning decisions are made.
The Greener Birmingham Coalition, as part of the Year of Green Action designated by government, will be asking residents, businesses and community groups for their thoughts on what should be the priorities for the city as it is transformed through major developments.
Launched at Birmingham Council House on 4th April, the Greener Birmingham Coalition will be asking people to hold conversations about the future of Birmingham as part of The Big Green Conversation.
Georgia Stokes, outgoing Chair of the Greener Birmingham Coalition explained: “Birmingham is undergoing transformation with major developments that will shape the city for generations to come. Each could significantly improve or worsen the natural environment in the city, impacting the health and wellbeing of everyone who lives and works here. At present the citizen’s voice is absent from planning for these developments.
The Greener Birmingham Coalition has positively engaged with city planners to begin discussions to incorporate green space and environmental considerations into the designs of these developments but we want to make sure this process is inclusive of all communities and citizens in Birmingham. Greener Birmingham plans for 2019 to be the year when citizens voices are heard.
The Big Green Conversation is one opportunity for city leaders, to listen to the residents of our city and hear their vision for how we work together to make every community a healthy, green, safe and inclusive place to live and work.”
The Big Green Conversation is supported by the city council as a positive way to engage with residents. Councillor Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council explained: “We are considering ways in which we can re-connect the importance of the environment with all city decision-making and help facilitate better pathways for public engagement. This comes at a good time for us as we redesign the way the council operates and as we look at future operating models for how we can take these services forward.”
Councillor Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment said:
“In my capacity as Birmingham’s Cabinet Member for Transport and the Environment I know that our city is a wonderfully green city. We have 591 parks & open spaces, covering 3,700ha including the National Nature Reserve of Sutton Park, 12 Local Nature Reserves, 6 Country Parks, 176 Sites of Importance and Local Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs), 237 Play Areas and 115 Allotment Sites.
We are also a fast growing city with the population predicted to increase by 156,000 by 2031 requiring a significant number of new homes, jobs, infrastructure and large-scale developments including HS2, the Commonwealth Games, Paradise and Smithfield developments.
These fast-paced developments will make our city an even better place to live and work but the Council is keen to make sure residents’ voices are heard and listened to as we make decisions that will affect everyone.
In the context of delivering sustainable growth, I welcome the Big Green Conversation as a way of allowing citizens to share their views with us on how the city develops and we are committed to listening.”
The initiative was launched at the Council House on 4th April 2019. The Big Green Conversation will happen over the summer. Communities are invited to hold conversations themselves and feedback responses to the Greener Birmingham Coalition through the online portal. All details and a downloadable resource pack are available at the Greener Birmingham website www.greenerbirmingham.com
Picture credit – Birmingham Canal – Catton2011 https://www.flickr.com/photos/68166820@N08/