THE LANDSCAPING SOLUTIONS BLOG


Welcome to our Blog. Inspiration, updates and industry trends from the team at Landscaping Solutions.

CROWDFUNDING SUCCESS FOR CAMDEN HIGH LINE

Landscaping Solutions - Camden High Line - Crowdfunding Success

Back in June of this year we did a piece on the Landscaping Solutions blog covering the Camden High Line, an ambitious project providing London with its own answer to New York City’s famous ‘High Line’.

The project aims to transform an old section of raised railway track in North London into an elevated public garden and commuting route.

Proposed by local business development agency Camden Town Unlimited, the belief is that the completed project will positively impact the local residents and surrounding neighbourhoods and serve as a shining example of how existing urban infrastructure can be repurposed and reimagined to do more.

With plans and conceptual art in place, Camden Town Unlimited set about launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise funds for taking the project through to the next stage. This includes site appraisals and surveys to establish the condition of the existing infrastructure as well as setting out the resources required to transform the disused railway.

Organisers initially set out to raise £37,000 for the proposed work but within a month of launching the campaign it had raised a staggering £62,000, over one and a half times their original goal.

This was undoubtably due in part to the overwhelming support the project received from the outset with over 300 local residents, community groups and businesses donating to the campaign, as well as Camden Market and the Mayor of London himself, Sadiq Khan.

When asked about the plans Mr Khan said: “This innovative project has the potential to become a real asset for Camden and is a great example of a community taking an idea and garnering support in order to make it a reality. I look forward to seeing it develop”.

Camden Town Unlimited are said to be thrilled with the results of the crowdfunding campaign as well as the support of the local community, businesses and the London mayor.

Whilst there is still a long way to go it is a very significant step towards construction and realising Camden Town Unlimited’s vision of a vibrant public green space and commuting route.

Refreshingly there have been a number of projects of this nature launched over recent months and as council budgets are stripped back across the UK, more and more communities are turning to crowdfunding as a means of getting community projects off the ground.

So many of these structures and spaces would no doubt have remained unloved and wasted for years to come were it not for these types of projects. Repurposing derelict or neglected spaces such as the Camden High Line re-energises the urban landscape, benefiting neighbourhoods as a whole and bringing communities together.

For further information regarding the Camden High Line or to support the project through its crowdfunding page click here.

If you would like to read our original blog article covering the launch of the Camden High Line crowdfunding campaign click here: From New York To London - The Camden High Line.

THE BUZZ SURROUNDING BEES

The Scottish government has launched a new “pollinator strategy” in an attempt to halt the rapid decline of pollinating insects such as honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies.

When compared to previous figures, the evidence suggests that the health and abundance of bees and other pollinators throughout the UK is dwindling at an alarming rate.

Since the 1980’s the number of pollinating insects in Scotland alone is estimated to have declined by a staggering 51%.

By setting out an ambitious 10-year plan the new pollinator strategy aims to make Scotland a more pollinator friendly place.

As part of the strategy homeowners and commercial landscape gardeners are being urged to plant pollinator-friendly plants in their gardens. Owners of flats and offices are also being encouraged to create rooftop, balcony and window-ledge gardens, with the specific aim of boosting flower-rich habitats by making better use of our urban infrastructure. In addition the strategy also proposes the development of bee and butterfly-friendly pest control as well as new research into the impact of climate change on pollinators.

It’s no secret bees are facing tough times and its a subject matter not without it’s fair share of media attention. Back in October last year we did a piece on the Landscaping Solutions blog covering their plight (Bees In Crisis) and there has also been plenty of publicity urging gardeners to grow flowers that attract bees and butterflies to their gardens.

Though undoubtedly this is all a step in the right direction, successfully reversing the decline is going to be no easy task. Planting a lot more flowers is not necessarily going to solve the problem as there is no clear cut answer as to why pollinating insects are under such threat.

Circumstances affecting the honeybee are different to those affecting bumblebees. Some species of bumblebee are actually doing well and have increased their distribution across the UK. These are mainly species that are able to collect nectar and pollen from a wide range of plants, including garden flowers.

Other species on the other hand are more selective in their flower-visiting routines and with the gradual loss of their natural habitats have shown a marked decline in population. Over the last 30 years 3 different species of bees have become extinct due to these circumstances, with many more dangerously close to extinction.

A recent study at the University of Sussex found that the majority of garden flowers advertised as bee-friendly are relatively useless when it comes to attracting pollinators. In fact the most effective insect-friendly plants are not the ones being recommended by garden centres.

Thankfully the Royal Horticultural Society currently features a comprehensive list on their website of ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ plants which can be viewed here.

As mentioned, pesticides, pollution and climate change also play their part in the decline of pollinators. If we are to safeguard our environment and eventually help to turn the tide on the decline of these vital insects, the key to the success of strategies such as this will lie in the further research and a clearer understanding of our countries delicate ecosystems.

​GOVERNMENT’S TREE PLANTING FUND ANNOUNCED

Tree Planting

The Woodland Creation Grant, a £13 million tree planting fund, was announced by the Government last week in an attempt to significantly increase planting rates.

According to recent figures from the Forestry Commission only 582 hectares of trees were planted last year, resulting in the lowest numbers planted since records began in 1976.

Unfortunately the trend has continued well into 2017 as well, with only 63,000 trees planted between January and March of this year.

The new funds have been made available through the Woodland Creation Grant, part of the Countryside Stewardship scheme which is a Government initiative set up to tackle these alarming statistics and provide financial incentives to local authorities, farmers and land owners throughout England.

As part of this scheme the grants are intended to help successful applicants plant more than 3 million trees, creating an estimated 1,900 hectares of new woodland. This goes some of the way towards reaching the Government’s primary objective of planting 11 million trees overall in rural areas and a further one million trees in our towns and cities.

There is, however, still a long way to go if the Government are to reach that quota by their original deadline of 2020.

Once application forms for the Woodland Creation Grant become available in September, those eligible will be able to apply for up to £6,800 per hectare for tree planting, with final submissions due in January 2018.

Forestry Minister Thérèse Coffey said: "Today’s announcement demonstrates the government’s ongoing commitment to the forestry sector and to biodiversity, which afforestation delivers. I hope to see as many applications as possible so this important industry can continue to thrive."

We often cover environmental issues here on the Landscaping Solutions blog as it’s a subject matter close to our hearts. Statistics like last years Forestry Commission figures really strike a chord with us and overall we feel the Woodland Creation Grant is a positive move in the right direction.

For the scheme to prove successful the environmental impact needs to be at the heart of how the planting is implemented. The additional woodland will no doubt give the timber industry a much needed boost but woodland creation is not always environmentally sound.

There is no denying that countless studies have shown trees reduce pollution, regulate temperatures, mitigate flood risk and provide a habitat for wildlife to thrive. However, For woodland creation to prove successful in the long term a number of factors have to be carefully considered. For example, what kind of woodland is being created, where is it being created and why is it being created?

To meet the increasing demand of timber for the construction industry, millions of pine trees have been planted over the past 100 years in our uplands. With little consideration for the surrounding wildlife, biodiversity has in fact been drastically reduced in these areas. In short it’s simply not a matter of just planting lots of trees and hoping for the best.

Further information regarding the Woodland Creation Grant and the Countryside Stewardship scheme can be found on the Government website.


FROM NEW YORK TO LONDON - THE CAMDEN HIGH LINE

Landscaping Solutions - Camden High Line

A recent bid to transform an old section of raised railway track in North London into an elevated garden could provide London with its answer to New York City’s famous ‘High Line’, a public park built on a historic freight railway elevated above the streets of Manhattan.

Proposed by local business development agency Camden Town Unlimited (a non-profit organisation), this North London counterpart would see a 0.8km long and 18m wide disused elevated railway track near Camden Town station converted in to a public green space and commuting route.

Eight meters off the ground, the public garden would provide a direct link between Camden and King's Cross, cutting commuting time between the two to only ten minutes for pedestrians and even less for cyclists.

Originally built as part of the North London Railway, the abandoned track crosses eight roads and seven bridges running all the way from Kentish Town Road to King’s Cross. Once completed the proposed Camden High Line would feature a garden walkway and a landscaped park and would be completely free to use making it accessible to everyone.

With a firm belief that the completed project would positively impact the local residents and surrounding neighbourhoods, a number of campaigners are urging local residents and Londoners alike to pledge their support for the project through the campaigns crowdfunding page.

If successful, it is hoped money raised through the the crowdfunding campaign would take the project to the next stage which would include site appraisals and surveys as well as help to pay for exhibitions, events and workshops to further promote the project.

Landscaping Solutions company director Ben West feels Camden would benefit greatly from a project of this nature; "Having visited the New York High Line myself last year, its difficult to deny the benefits of a project such as this. If London can achieve the same level of success as the New York scheme by repurposing such a prominent piece of the urban landscape then its definitely something worth pursuing”. said Ben.

For further information regarding the Camden High Line or to support the project through its crowdfunding page click here.

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