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Page 4 | 04 - 17

Page 4 | 04 - 17 September 2019 CITYMATTERS.LONDON News Matters CORPORATION LOOKS FOR A BIT OF ANIMAL MAGIC TO MAINTAIN HEATH SHEEP grazed freely on the rolling grasslands of Hampstead Heath for the first time in decades. On 27 August a small flock of five Oxford Down and Norfolk Horn sheep were released on to the North London park for a week-long trial. Their grazing could prove an eco-friendly way of looking after the centuries-old Heath, according to the City of London Corporation, which runs it. “Grazing is known to play a major role in boosting species-rich wildlife habitats and reducing the use of machinery,” a Corporation spokesperson said. “Unlike mowing, grazing produces a mosaic of vegetation heights and types, improving ecological sites for species, including amphibians, small mammals, invertebrates and wildflowers.” Monitoring It follows months of speculation about livestock being brought back to the muchloved, 790-acre Heath for the first time since the 1950s. In March, The Times newspaper reported that cows were also being considered. The sheep were provided by Mudchute Park and Farm on the Isle of Dogs, East London. They grazed at The Tumulus, a Roman monument over an ancient burial ground close to Parliament Hill that is managed by Historic England. Volunteers from the Heath and Hampstead Society and Heath Hands supported the project by monitoring the sheep and engaging with visitors. John Beyer, vice chair of the Heath and Hampstead Society, said the idea was inspired by early 19th-century landscape paintings by John Constable. “This idea came up at a society lecture city_matters Eco-friendly solution is the best ‘baa’ none natural mowing technique: sheep could be spotted grazing on Hampstead Heath as part of a new initiative given by painter Lindy Guinness, who showed paintings by John Constable of cattle grazing on the Heath.” said Mr Beyer. “This romantic vision happily coincided with the aim of Heath staff to experiment with grazing rather than tractors to manage the landscape. We are delighted to work with the City Corporation to find more sustainable ways of preserving the Heath.” Karina Dostalova, chairman of the Corporation’s Hampstead Heath management committee, said: “The Heath has a long history THE City of London Corporation has published the UK’s first wind microclimate guidelines for new development proposals in the Square Mile. Going further than established thinking, the set of guidelines raises the benchmark for acceptable wind conditions in the City, putting the comfort and safety of cyclists and pedestrians first. The guidelines provide a more robust framework for assessing the impact of planning applications on wind conditions. They will ensure what were previously acceptable ‘business walking conditions’ are now reclassified as ‘uncomfortable’, and to be avoided other than in exceptional circumstances of limited public access. For the first time in the UK, effects on cycling comfort and safety arising from wind microclimate are also considered. Wind can, in extreme cases, destabilise or push cyclists into the path of vehicles. By testing roadways as well as pavements through wind tunnel studies or computer simulations, it is expected that the more robust assessment will lead to a safer and more comfortable urban environment for all – in line of sheep grazing with farmers taking their flock to the site before taking them to market in the City. “Reintroduction of grazing has been an aspiration for many years, and we are glad to be working with our partners on this exciting opportunity.” The pilot was managed by the City of London Corporation in partnership with the Heath & Hampstead Society, Heath Hands, Historic England, Mudchute Park & Farm and Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Wind condition guidelines not just a load of hot air with greater use of the City’s streets for cycling, walking and other outdoor activities. The needs of more vulnerable groups in society are also prioritised, ensuring greater consideration outside areas such as schools or elderly people’s homes. The City Corporation collaborated with Ender Ozkan of RWDI, a specialist engineering consultancy, and sought input from members of the wind engineering community in preparing these state-of-the-art guidelines. The guidelines build on complex research previously undertaken by RWDI for the City Corporation, which was awarded the Mayor’s Award for Planning Excellence at the London Planning Awards 2017. Alastair Moss, chair of the planning and transportation committee, said: “With the number of tall buildings in the Square Mile growing, it is important that the knock-on effects of new developments on wind at street-level are properly considered. “These guidelines mark another significant step that the City Corporation is taking to put cyclists and pedestrians at the heart of planning in the Square Mile, prioritising safety and experience.”

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