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‘Let residents make Islington greener’

Campaigners call for ‘grassroots’ action in response to Town Hall report

20 November, 2020 — By Helen Chapman

Helena Farstad and neighbour Lynne Frideli in Mayton Street

ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have called on the council to grant permission for residents to repurpose areas to make them greener.

It comes after the council released a report last week detailing the five-year Biodiversity Action Plan.

The report shows how the council aims to maintain trees, install green roofs on new buildings and create “pocket parks”.

But environmental activist Helena Farstad said the report does not go far enough and the council should be encouraging “grassroots” action where residents take control of their own environment.

Ms Farstad and neighbour Lynne Frideli in Mayton Street repurposed a car park space for planters and flowers and say the model should be used across the borough.

Ms Farstad said: “The lockdown has demonstrated the need for green space and the positive effect on mental health. Communities should be allowed to take over spaces in their streets, particularly when they don’t have gardens.”

Ms Farstad and Ms Frideli said children stop by to look at the insects and flowers in their plants to and from their walks to school.
Islington has one of the lowest levels of car ownership in London with less than 30 per cent of the population having one.

Ms Frideli said: “It’s an inequality issue because we know that those who own a car are amongst the wealthiest of residents and so they have a disproportionate amount of space.”

Sally Oldfield, Islington’s nature conservation manager, told a scrutiny committee meeting held online on Monday that the council was working on it.

“It’s about volunteering, environmental education, working with our friends of parks groups, encouraging action by residents on housing estates and generally raising awareness of biodiversity through public events,” she said.

Green party councillor Caroline Russell warned the meeting: “It’s more than 17 per cent of residents who are living in areas with a deficiency of access to nature”

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