COUNCILLORS will this week be asked to back a spend of nearly £700,000 on improving green spaces around the borough’s canal and river network.

The project, part of the Black Country Blue Network, is a region-wide scheme to improve biodiversity of green spaces through habitat improvement works.

It also aims to rejuvenate canal and riverside locations to make them more attractive to visitors.

The Dudley sites earmarked for improvements include Sedgley Beacon; Castle Hill woodland and Peggy’s Meadow; open space in Holloway Street, Upper Gornal; and Turls Hill and Swanbrook Valley; and open spaces in Coseley, including Cannon Drive and Clayton Park.

Councillor Ian Kettle, Dudley's cabinet member for regeneration and enterprise, said: "This is a very worthy scheme. Not only will it help plants and animals flourish and protect their natural habitats, it will also open up better access to beautiful canalside locations.

"That in turn will make them more popular as walking or cycle routes, encouraging healthy lifestyles and active recreation for people in the borough.

"Canals in particular form such an important part in the history of our borough, so I very much welcome any investment in them."

The council has stressed the investment would largely come from external funding at no expense to the taxpayer.

The £675,000 for the scheme is proposed to be funded by £339,000 from a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) grant; £272,000 from developers through either section 106 or Community Infrastructure Levy contributions; £24,000 from the Wildlife Trust; and £40,000 from prudential borrowing.

Members of Dudley Council’s cabinet will be asked to back the plan at a meeting on Thursday October 29.