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Natural Environment Debate with Mayoral Candidates for the West Midlands
Fri, April 7, 2017, 6:00 PM – 8:30 PM BST
“What does the West Midlands Combined Authority Mayor mean for nature?”
“Green growth means fostering economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. To do this, it must catalyse investment and innovation which will underpin sustained growth and give rise to new economic opportunities.” - OECD (2011)
Doors open at 6pm for a 6.30pm start.Event ends at 8.30pm.
The Chair for this event is Peter Braithwaite, Director of Sustainability at the University of Birmingham and Chair of Sustainability West Midlands supported by Georgia Stokes, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country as co-chair. This event is generously hosted by Birmingham City University.
The West Midlands Combined Authority aims to create a strong economic region with priorities including skills and employment, housing and integrated transport systems. The combined authority Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) sets out the vision to improve the quality of life for everyone who lives and works in the West Midlands. This SEP currently does not recognise the contribution of the natural environment, our parks, nature reserves, green spaces, water courses or green corridors, to quality of life or to the economy.
The people of the West Midlands care about the natural environment. Membership of nature conservation organisations is rising and the numbers of people involved with their local parks, wildlife and nature events are reaching peak levels. Over half a million people took part in the Great Garden Bird Watch at the end of January and large employers are seeking programmes that connect their employees with nature conservation to prevent absenteeism from mental health conditions and to increase productivity.
The new mayor will have powers over land use, housing, transportation, skills and investment in infrastructure. The natural environment is a vital net contributor to the economy, health and wellbeing and of course infrastructure.
What do each of the candidates think about the role of the natural environment? Do they see nature as an asset or a liability? Where does a healthy natural environment sit with their list of priorities? Will they pledge to recognise the natural environment as an asset and to developing a 25 year plan to protect and restore nature?
Come along to hear each candidate speak. There will be an opportunity for questions to be asked and for each candidate to respond. If you want to ask a question you need to submit this in writing to Georgia Stokes at firstname.lastname@example.org. All questions must relate to the natural environment as this is the focus of the event.
Organisers will choose a selection of questions that represent a variety of topics and these will be read out on the night by the Chair.
You will have a chance to vote for your preferred candidate before you leave.
The event will open with the first screening of a film about natural capital made by students of Birmingham City University.
You can add your voice to our pledge for nature calling on all local leaders including the mayoral candidates to support a 25 year plan for the environment. Sign the pledge here.
Huge thanks to Birmingham City University, Birmingham City Council and Players of People's Postcode Lottery for supporting this event.