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Birmingham wins ninth Gold at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021

Photograph of Gold Medal awarded to Birmingham City Council at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021
Published: Tuesday, 21st September 2021

Birmingham City Council has scooped Gold for the ninth show running at RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021.

The display showcases how we can all make a small or large change to help improve the environment for future generations.

Developing ideas first seen in Baroness Floella Benjamin’s garden in 2019, the Veolia-sponsored display gives examples of how to make a positive environmental difference in your own home, garden or the community you live in.

The display also raises awareness of sustainable energy sources and looks at how these initiatives can be scaled up or down to fit all scenarios.

It has traditional seasonal bedding, with all the plants produced or maintained at Birmingham City Council’s nurseries.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council, said: “The creativity and effort put in by everyone involved with our displays never ceases to amaze me.

“Nine Gold awards in a row is a brilliant achievement and reconfirms Birmingham’s status as one of the leading cities for all things horticulture, helping promote us on a national and an international level - I can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.”

Cllr John O’Shea, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Parks at Birmingham City Council, added: “Our environment is key when it comes to our city’s health and prosperity, which is why we were keen through our Chelsea display to promote how we can all do our bit to preserve and enhance it.

“Given recent news headlines about issues with energy supplies and natural resources, it is incredibly timely and gives visitors to the show some great ideas about how they can contribute positively to the environment in which they live or work.”

Mark Powell, Veolia General Manager in Birmingham, said: “Veolia is proud to sponsor Birmingham City Council’s stand at the Chelsea Flower Show. The team involved should be very pleased with the wonderful display. It’s especially great to see sustainability presented in a positive way that closely aligns with Veolia’s core values. Congratulations on winning gold once again, Birmingham City Council.”

The RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2021 runs from 21to 26 September6.

Background notes

Some of the many aspects and ideas of the display include:

  • A solar panel
  • A green roof
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Recycling
  • Wind power
  • LED lighting
  • Smart meters
  • Sustainable urban drainage
  • Cycling
  • Water power
  • Air quality
  • Rechargeable batteries
  • Electric vehicles
  • Gardens
  • Smart devices

The key themes of the display are summarised as follows:

The Natural Environment

There are 22 million residential gardens in the UK, they are unique spaces that could do so much for the environment. Gardens are especially important in cities where they provide much needed habitats for wildlife, an opportunity for you to grow your own food and places to relax and be social. On a larger scale parks provide space for all those without their own garden. In Birmingham there are over 600 parks and open spaces. Gardens and parks could be used to in our response to climate change, providing green transport networks, plants to help filter the air and the sustainable management of water.

Sustainable Energy

Although using the power of the sun to produce electricity has been around since the mid-1800s, the technology has really improved over the last 20 years. Solar farms have been on the increase and now an estimated 825,000 homes have solar panels filtered to them. There is plenty of room for improvement as this is only 2.8 per cent of homes, with 6 per cent of the UK’s energy produced from solar sources. Solar power can be used at various levels from large solar farms down to personal power banks that can be used anywhere.  he display also shows the benefits of wind power which again can be on a large scale or for a small garden.

Green Travel

The display highlights the benefits of cycling and the increasing use of electric vehicles. Increasing the use of green travel will have a direct impact on air quality, this is especially important to large cities such as Birmingham. Every year air pollution contributes to the premature deaths of up to 1,000 people in Birmingham through conditions such as cancer, heart and lung disease. To improve air quality within the city, Birmingham introduced a Clean Air Zone on 1 June 2021, charging owners of the most high-polluting vehicles to drive within certain parts of the city centre, unless they have an exemption. Find out more on Brum Breathes' website.

Home Improvements

The display looks at the home and garden to suggest ways you can make a difference. Smart Meters, the move to LED lights, having house plants, installing small scale sustainable energy solutions, recycling and installing green roofs. There are many benefits of a green roof, these include providing insulation, providing habitats for birds and insects, helping towards urban air quality and reducing noise pollution, helping to cool urban environments in the process. Green roofs can be on a large scale or can be fitted to sheds or outside bin stores.

Water

The display looks at the use of water. From water harvesting from buildings to water bore holes, the display will follow the flow of water down rivers to the sea where a number of turbines use the power of water to produce electricity. The display looks at the importance of sustainable drainage systems that can be used to collect and reuse water.

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