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Defra Minister Therese Coffey visits Mersey Forest projects in Liverpool

21 December 2016

The Defra Minister recently visited St. Vincent de Paul Primary School where she planted a tree with pupils.

St Vincent De Paul Primary is a school based right in the heart of the city which has little green space, but thanks to funding from supported by the Ernest Cook Trust and Smurfit Kappa Foundation their school grounds have been transformed.

The school was keen to develop a Forest School, so with help from The Mersey Forest Team, parents, children and staff a grassy area was planted with trees and logs brought in for seating. That was back in December 2015 and since then a member of staff has trained as a Forest School Leader. The pupils started their Forest School sessions in October 2016, and supported by Jo from the Mersey Forest team, but soon teacher Miss Bethel will be leading her own sessions and hopes to be a fully qualified leader by Summer 2017.

The Minister then continued with a walking meeting through the city's Business Improvement Districts where she discussed the current green infrastructure planning being delivered by the Mersey Forest with the BID Company's Andi Herring. This was followed by talks with Paul Nolan, Iain Taylor and Forestry Commission's Keith Jones around urban flood risk management and adapting to climate change.

The Mersey Forest Team developed the Liverpool Green Infrastructure Strategy in 2012 which led to significant investment in green infrastructure programmes from the health and transport sectors. Most recently the Strategy has been the basis for a successful £3.5m Horizon 2020 bid, led by the City Council with The Mersey Forest and University of Liverpool support. This funding will deliver a range of environmental improvements including increasing biodiversity, improving air quality and alleviating surface water issues. Work will include planting trees, introducing green walls and sustainable urban drainage systems, whilst enhancing pedestrian and cyclist routes in and out of the city.

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