Durham adds another trophy to environmental cabinet with In Bloom award

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Durham has been awarded gold in Northumbria In Bloom’s (NIB) 2022 accolades. NIB singled out the Botanic Garden, Wharton Park and local allotments in particular as worthy of being “congratulated on their efforts,” for making the city “alive with colour”.

In addition, worthy of special praise were Durham’s roundabouts, maintained by the County Council’s Civic Pride team. An example of this is the North Road roundabout, which now features a floral tribute to Queen Elizabeth for her Platinum Jubilee in June.

Mark Wilkes, of Durham County Council, thanked staff and volunteers for being so “committed to keeping the county looking so vibrant”.

NIB singled out the Botanic Garden, Wharton Park and local allotments in particular

On top of its flower bed work, the Council flaunts its £500 grant scheme, which is available to local community groups as part of the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘It’s Your Neighbourhood’ plan. 

This year’s award is Durham’s 18th win for Best Large Town or Best Small City in the last 23 years and is the latest in a long list of local and national environmental accolades and rankings. 

Nationally, Solarcentre says that Durham is the UK’s greenest city, topping the ranking of 59 urban areas on air quality and narrowly missing out on the top spot for green spaces, parks and nature reserves.

Durham is the UK’s greenest city, topping the ranking of 59 urban areas on air quality

The award comes as the Government plans to push ahead with a shakeup of planning regulation that is being criticised for environmental reasons and is already proving to be unpopular among MPs on both sides of the House.

The Express reported on Sunday that the Levelling Up secretary, Simon Clarke, risks creating further fractures in the Conservative Party by pushing hard for speedier home building, fewer environmental protections and less stringent affordable home requirements. 

This is the latest in a string of environmental issues the government has fought with over the past year, which also includes outrage over the dumping of raw sewage directly into river systems, including the Wear. Palatinate has reported on local MP Mary Foy’s consternation with the state of the Wear.

In addition, the announcement of new ‘investment zones’ by the government in its September ‘mini budget’ was widely criticised by environmental organisations.

The North East Combined Authority (NECA), which includes Durham, expressed no interest in the plan and thus will not be considered for potential future investment zones. NECA’s stated mission is to “create the conditions for economic growth and new investment”.

Image: kaysgeog via Flickr

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