Mid and East Antrim Borough Council's story
The Parks and Open Spaces team grow 80% of all floral bedding in house. This gives staff better control over the propagation of plants, saves energy and emissions through less transportation, and means staff can grow more wildlife friendly varieties. Bedding grown in house lasts much longer, meaning less waste and more sustainable displays in towns and villages.
They are reducing herbicide use by 15% year on year and are introducing more sustainable planting, such as wildflower and native shrubs, to town centre displays. This is better for biodiversity and the planet by saving on green waste, maintenance and watering.
They have reduced peat use by 95%. Staff use Natural World Products (NWP) compost and Bulrush compost which is delivered in loose loads, not bagged, to save on plastic waste. NWP compost is made from residents food waste which when collected goes through a high heat refining process and can then be reused in green space and bedding displays. The team is aiming to be 100% peat free soon.
They have reduced water waste by making use of borehole water, using smart technology and automated heating systems in growing polytunnels, as well as rolling out self-watering planters across towns and villages. Traditional floral bedding is also being steadily replaced by more sustainable bedding such as native shrub and trees which require much less maintenance and little to no watering.
They have sown extensive wildflower meadows across the Borough with native seed to boost biodiversity.
Useful learnings from Mid and East Antrim Borough Council
Have a lead Officer to co-ordinate but ensure all staff are engaged, informed and listened to. Link to regional initiatives e.g. All Ireland Pollinator Plan, RHS Gardening for Wildlife. Look out for external funding opportunities. Engage residents and community groups. Install signage to inform residents why the service regime is changing.
Mid and East Antrim Borough Council's metrics
Reduction in herbicide usage annually.
Number of awards won.