Safeguarding Doxey Marshes

New developments can pose a threat to wildlife and earlier this year the council was commended for its work to preserve the wildlife on the Redhill Business Park, where our sustainable newt tunnels led to an even greater number of species living in the area. And now as part of the Stafford Western Access Road project, which I spoke about last week, we will be making even more environmental improvements to both protect and improve the environment for local wildlife.

By lowering an area of land at Doxey Marshes nature reserve we will create ideal wet-grassland nesting conditions for migrating birds. Meanwhile the River Sow will be taken out of its artificial channel by the railway and restored to a more natural riverbed with shallower slopes to help prevent flooding. As well as bringing great economic benefits to the county town, I’m proud there will be environmental improvements as part of the work too.  And, we’ve been working closely with Staffordshire Wildlife, Natural England  and the Environment Agency to make sure we get it right.

This new school year may have only just started but parents with children going to primary or secondary school next September 2017 need to think ahead about choosing a school for their child.

It pays to do your homework when choosing a school, and the county council is very pleased to unveil its new school search tool.  By entering a postcode, parents can now see and compare schools easily, including their Ofsted rating, average GCSE results, pupil to teacher ratio, if it is a catchment area school – even what percentage of pupils went on to further education and apprenticeships.

It’s easy to use and a straight-forward way to help parents make the right choice for their child’s school. You can find the tool here on the Staffordshire County Council website. Parents can also find out how they can help their children on their continuing school journey by visiting www.staffordshire.gov.uk/brightfuture.

And now turning to some personal news, I am pleased to announce I have been elected as one of three vice chairman of the County Councils Network (CCN). The CCN provides a national voice for all the country’s 27 county council’s and 10 county unitary councils. This appointment gives us the opportunity to promote and strengthen the key role county authorities like Staffordshire have in shaping economic growth, health and care, planning, education and local government funding.

The new role will see Staffordshire, through a national platform, support its fellow rural counties influence and deliver the priorities for people living in rural shire areas.  Despite the tough times, in Staffordshire we have continued to invest in and support economic growth to help demonstrate that shire counties are truly the best places to live and work.

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