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27th Nov, 2021

Green projects get the seal of approval on Princess Royal Worcester visit

Rob George 16th Oct, 2021

WORCESTER welcomed Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal to the city for a series of visits to promote green projects across the city.

Youngsters and staff at St Barnabas CE Primary School welcomed HRH to plant a tree as part of The Queen’s Green Canopy (QGC) scheme.

The Princess Royal also opened a unique underwater wild fish viewing gallery on the River Severn at Diglis as part of the biggest conservation project of its kind in Europe.

The tree chosen is at St Barnabas CE Primary School is an Acer Autumn Blaze and has been planted next to the Worcestershire black pear that is already planted on site.

The school was selected to receive this gift of a tree due to its long-standing commitment to ensuring every child develops an excellent understanding of their environmental responsibilities. The school has been awarded eight consecutive Green Flag Eco Awards, the highest in Worcestershire.

It will also provide an opportunity to increase pupil’s on-going engagement with nature & the environment around them.

Headteacher Sarah Hanson said: “Outdoor learning is such a key part of our curriculum, and our responsibility to sustainability within our local community is a driving factor.

“The children will never forget this exceptional day. Today’s planting will be something to look on with pride over the next few years.”

The Queen’s Green Canopy project, a unique, UK-wide tree planting project aimed at creating a lasting legacy in honour of Her Majesty’s lifetime of service to the nation. Trees can be planted from October through to the end of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee year.

Lord-Lieutenant of Worcestershire, Lt Col Patrick Holcroft, said, “The Lieutenancy, with the enthusiastic and generous support of Worcestershire County Council, began planting trees in the winter of 2020, and we are currently developing further planting bids involving the public in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and the creation of a wonderful legacy for the county.”

At Diglis, Her Royal Highness was hosted by Richard Parry, chief executive or the Canal and River Trust, the lead partner of the Unlocking the Severn project to improve the UK’s longest river for people and wildlife.

She entered the viewing gallery built below the water level of the river where a huge five square metre window gives a unique opportunity to spot wild fish navigating the fish pass on their way to important spawning grounds up the river.

Her Royal Highness was shown how visitors will learn about the rare migratory fish on the River Severn and the fish passes that will once again give access to more than 150 miles of important spawning habitat.

Built over the last two years, it is the biggest deep vertical slot fish pass in England and Wales and a feat of modern civil engineering. The fish pass, one of four to be built as part of the Unlocking the Severn project, allows fish to swim past the Victorian built weirs via a series of ascending pools.

As part of the royal visit, The Princess Royal unveiled a commemorative plaque and was given a tour of the manmade lock island in the middle of the River Severn, including the Victorian workshop which has been transformed into a flexible visitor space to host school groups and the start of the public tours.

She met local volunteers who continue to play such an important role in this project and was introduced to representatives from all the project partners: Canal ad River Trust, Severn Rivers Trust, Environment Agency, and Natural England. The National Lottery Heritage Fund and LIFE programme of the European Union, both key funders of the project, were also represented.

“The underwater viewing gallery offers a completely new way to engage with river wildlife that are for so many people out of sight and out of mind,” Mr Parry said.

“In addition to restoring the fortunes of the courageous twaite shad, we hope this new visitor experience will inspire people to re-engage with river wildlife for many, many years to come, after all life is better by water.”

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