Environment

Introduction

The Environment group has been actively involved with a wide variety of project work over the last ten years. Our unique environment is inextricably linked to the local economy and we predict it will become even more important in future. Whilst there is much to appreciate and there is also much to preserve and it requires careful planning.

Coastal protection

The two parishes continue to participate in the Coastal Management team, urging landowners manage their sites professionally, maintaining balance between encouraging visitors to our unique coast and protecting its flora and fauna. Coastal erosion is a key concern for Formby Parish Council. Our representative on the consultation for the North West England and North Wales Shoreline Management Plan was instrumental in working with other stakeholders to improve the designation from ‘miminal management of the coastline’ to ‘active management of the coastline’. Both Parish Councils have been active in working with Mersey Forest and other stakeholders on the Mersey Forest Plan to ensure our valuable coastal woodland continues to be managed effectively.

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Flood Plain Management

Formby is on the edge of an area, which was recovered from the flood plain and gives rise to excellent agricultural land. It is surrounded by a ring of green belt, which is passionately protected by the residents, as it is a town where people aspire to live and enjoy.

Formby Parish Council continues to be active in the management of the flood plain and was instrumental in pushing for the refurbishment of the River Alt Pumping Station a few years ago. Whilst this may need to be reviewed in future for the present the investment by the Environment Agency has proved essential.

We support the recommendation of a Catchment Partnership to set up a Water Level Management Board (commonly known as Local Drainage Board), which will allow landowners and the local councils to work together with the Environment Agency to maintain the local pumping stations,  manage the watercourse and maintain the quality of the land. This Board would be tasked with providing protection against potential flooding.

Green Belt

We have made plain our objection to any house building on the green belt surrounding Formby and Little Altcar. We have made our views known to the Planning Officers of Sefton MBC and will continue to work on the principle that this is key to protecting our environment, controlling traffic movements and in dealing many other related issues.

Renewable Energy

While we see benefits of off shore wind investments in renewable energy we strongly oppose the proposal to construct another site on the Ince Blundell/Lydiate strip. The pressure group H-ALT has our full support. The team are concerned that if 24 enormous turbines are built, we will lose prime agricultural land for ever and this will put additional pressure on our already fragile rural economy. Formby Parish Council has written to the West Lancashire District Council to complain at not being consulted and to formally raise an objection to the proposed development. The letter can be viewed here.

The recent application to carry out subterranean research by Aurora also gives rise to wider concerns. There are justifiable reasons to search for renewable sources of energy but it must not be done at the expense of the ecological balance and safety of residential properties. We will continue to monitor such work closely.

Village Improvement Plan: Phase 2

The Parish Council’s have a small team of dedicated volunteers/councillors who work tirelessly on maintaining the roundabouts, the Memorial Garden and the planters in the Chapel Lane area. It takes time and commitment and we aim to keep Formby looking the best it can despite the continued cuts in services by Sefton MBC. When you drive in to Formby from Southport, Liverpool or Ormskirk we want people to say – ‘doesn’t this town look good’?

We have recently added new areas for improvements, Rosemary Lane footpath, Southport Road and Harington Road. There is a limit to what we can do immediately but a new programme is being prepared and we want residents to let us have their views and help.

Our aim is simple – to set out plans via the likes of our Community Plan to keep Formby at it’s best for the next 25 years, keeping its traditions and by providing the funds to do it.

Rights of Way - footpaths

Formby and Little Altcar are criss crossed with public footpaths and cycle tracks. Our consistent involvement with the Sefton Rights of Way team has kept the focus on Long Lane, keeping it maintained and tidy. There is still a lot to do to protect this most important watercourse. It has to be cleaned and tidy at all times. The vegetation needs to be controlled right through to the River Alt. It is not generally known that one of our Councillors spotted a rogue Himalayan Balsam plant three years ago on the bank. It was destroyed and so far hasn’t yet returned!

Long Lane beck has to be kept clear and the two Parish Councils are pressing Sefton to furnish the investment needed to maintain it safely. We intend to keep this high on the list of priorities and hold the Cuncil to account accordingly

On the positive side we have provided financial support for the clean up of the Rosemary Lane footpath and are seeking work to be done on other footpaths such as Barkfield Road and the link between College and Firs Close. We have established a good working relationship with the Sefton team. They have little to spend and we may have to co-fund additional projects in future. We are hoping for members of the public to help us by ting us know where the problems exist and give a hand in the work of keeping the paths clean and tidy. Check out our Latest News pages for more details of forthcoming works.

Projects for 2014

These include plans to establish a Formby Free Wi-fi Zone with internet connections at a community office for business use. We will work with businesses to help them get the most benefit from the project. This website as a new means of communication with local residents is another project. We also assistlocal businesses to advertise local promotions and offers. A further long-stnading project will be to improve the appearance of the junction of Elbow Lane with Brows Lane and the Formby Pool to increase footfall in that area. This offers hope for landlords that their shops will become more attractive to potential business tenants.

Recycling

Some years ago we set an objective to put Formby at the forefront of achieving high levels of recycling of waste. We were partners in the setting up of the Merseyside Waste DPD and are pleased to note that we have hit levels of recycling of more than two-thirds We will seek to improve this still further as changes take place in waste collection in 2014.