Vision and Objectives
Our environment is one of the county’s key features, providing easy access to the countryside and a wealth of stunning scenery. Our country parks, open spaces and woodlands provide great walking and cycling opportunities which support our health and wellbeing vision.
Worcestershire is a diverse county with fantastic examples of a historic and natural environment, which contributes to the unique character of the county.
The quality of the environment, and the recreational, cultural and heritage offer - which includes the distinction of being Elgar’s county - is crucial to the success of Worcestershire’s tourism economy. It also provides an attractive place to invest in a new business or to grow an existing one.
A sustainable environment is important for people’s wellbeing, the economy and for the natural environment.
Being a responsible custodian of the county’s environment
We recognise Worcestershire’s natural and built environment as a key asset and will continue to promote the county as a great place to live, work and visit.
We will seek to maximise our environmental assets to help to deliver sustainable economic growth whilst enhancing the quality of life in the county.
Our riverside locations provide attractive leisure spaces, whilst also enhancing active lifestyles. Over 5,600 hectares of public recreational space is available across the county, managed by the Council and partners, which includes country parks, green spaces and picnic sites. There are approximately 64km of canals that are available for boating – alongside which there are towpaths for walking, running and cycling. The Council also manages over 4,600km of public rights of way, made up of footpaths, bridleways and byways.
As one of the largest employers in the county, we will encourage and monitor responsible environmental performance by our suppliers and contractors.
We will continue to champion the use of appropriate renewable energies, with a focus on energy efficient schemes that make a positive contribution to the environment.
Working with partner agencies we will raise awareness and promote bio-diversity and deliver good land management for pollinators across the county, recognising the importance of the agricultural sector to our rural economy. We will also champion the use of green infrastructure in future development.
Commitment to improve our transport networks and deliver resilient infrastructure
We are committed to improving our roads and pavements, recognising that they are a high priority for our residents and businesses. We will strive for top quartile performance in the quality of our roads and pavements, understanding their importance in supporting our Open for Business and Health and Well-Being objectives. This will build on the good work done to date and further demonstrate our commitment to being a responsive Council.
We also want to improve journey times through greater use and access to technology, for example, focusing on smarter traffic signalling systems, tackling key congestion pinch-points across the county, and exploring opportunities for increasing access to real-time information to enable people to optimise their journey.
In addition to our investment in roads, we will seek opportunities to enhance travel choice including enhancing walking and cycling routes, particularly where this is not to the detriment of the motorist. Rail travel is a key part of our transport strategy. Improvements at Worcester Foregate and Malvern Link stations, the new Bromsgrove rail station, and our plans to deliver the Worcestershire Parkway station clearly demonstrate our commitment to our railways.
We recognise the importance of buses in public transport choice, with a focus on encouraging a market for more commercially operated services, with community transport solutions filling gaps where possible.
We know that flooding is a major issue for residents and businesses, particularly for those that live in the areas most affected. We will continue to minimise the impact of flooding on our transport network and reduce the frequency of closures related to flooding so that people are able to get out and about and continue with their daily lives. We will also seek to increase the number of homes and businesses protected by investment in effective flood prevention and mitigation measures.
We are predicting an increase in the demand for waste disposal services over the next 5 years, in part due to the significant number of new homes planned across the county.
Our ability to manage this demand efficiently and cost-effectively is crucial to sustaining the quality of our environment. Our focus is to try and minimise the amount of waste being generated despite the economic and housing growth across the county.
We will encourage residents to reduce, re-use, recycle and compost more. We will also promote the concept of waste being a resource from which as much value as possible should be recovered. Alongside this, we will continue to work with central government and the food industry to reduce food waste and packaging.
We are committed to sending less waste to landfill due to the detrimental impacts on the environment. A key part of our strategy to achieving this is through delivery of the county’s Energy from Waste plant, in Hartlebury, which opens in 2017.
How will we judge progress?
- Minimising the amount of waste produced
- Improving the condition of our roads and pavements
- Reducing journey times and improving access to real-time journey information
- Maintaining access to quality recreational green-space across the county
- An increase in additional number of homes / businesses protected from flooding