by our RBG Correspondent | Woolwich
A team of young people learning how to repair minor roads in the borough have scooped a top environmental award.
The group carried out a tree-planting project in Crown Woods Way, Eltham, while employed on the council’s Highways Improvement and Local Labour (HILL) project. This was set up to train unemployed young people to make road and pavement repairs, install new lighting, and remove unnecessary ‘street furniture’.
They worked with the Trees for Cities charity to develop a way to reduce surface water and reduce the risk of flooding in the residential street. This involved planting trees and improving the drainage by installing ‘rain gardens’ to help water drain away. And they planted 11 oak and birch trees and installed specialised pits to help drainage and the trees to grow.
Their work won them a biodiversity award in a national competition sponsored by CIRIA, the construction industry’s research and information association. They took the prize for the ‘most innovative’ project. Trees for Cities kept local residents up to date with the project by door-knocking and delivering flyers and inviting them to come and learn about street tree watering and care.
The charity will maintain the trees for three years before handing the project over to the council, who will then be responsible for the trees’ maintenance as the landowner.
Councillor Sizwe James (pictured), Royal Borough of Greenwich cabinet member for business, employment and skills, said: “This award-winning project shows how green infrastructure can be used as an effective and sustainable urban drainage system on streets and roadsides. This helps reduce surface water flooding, reduces noise and pollution, and increases local biodiversity, which is all good news for the local community. My congratulations to the HILL team for an excellent outcome to their hard work.”