Dudley canal gets conservation status upgrade

Delph Nine Locks, part of the historic Dudley No.1 Canal, is to be upgraded to a natural conservation area of greater regional importance following an expert study.

The Delph Locks area in the south of the No.1 Canal in Brierley Hill will become a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC), reflecting the results of a recent ecological survey of the canal and its surroundings.

Independent ecologists undertaking the survey remarked on the interesting features of the Delph Locks area, including its diverse plant life, the many species of birds around the site and the historical value of the location.

The area was previously classed as a Site of Local Importance for Nature Conservation on a borough level, but it will now be recognised as one of the West Midlands’ major ecological and geological spaces. Councillor Damian Corfield, cabinet member for highways and environmental services, said: "We’re immensely proud of our canals in Dudley. They are an important part of our borough’s heritage and the habitat for a lot of local wildlife.

"The new status of the No.1 Canal’s southern section is great news for the conservation of the area, bringing added protection and recognition to this popular walking and bird-watching trail."

Councillor Adam Davies, who has been working with cabinet members and council officers on the upgrade, said: "I am so pleased we've managed to get this protection upgrade for our iconic Delph Locks.

"The Delph Locks – or as we still call them locally, the Nine Locks – are one of the best examples of the role the Black Country canal network played in the Industrial Revolution.

"These days, they're an important home for local wildlife and a great place for people to enjoy the outdoors. This further protection should enable the planning system to protect the site for generations to come."

His colleague, Councillor Wayne Little added, “The Delph Locks and surrounding area is much loved by local people and beyond. To have its rich history and heritage recognised in this way along with the added protection for generations to come will be warmly welcomed by everyone.”

Dudley No.1 Canal is part of the Black Country UNESCO Global Geopark, which is one of just eight internationally recognised geoparks in the UK.


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