A greener Waterloo is unveiled

Local residents and businesses, ‘eco-warriors’ from Johanna Primary School and volunteers from Oasis Academy South Bank have made a start on a new planting initiative in London Waterloo.

Starting with a site on Lower Marsh, pupils from Johanna School helped the designer Deborah Nagan to plant up new containers created from recycled fruit juice barrels.  A further four sites were be planted-up over two days, making use of five tonnes of sand and hundreds of buddleia, daisy, honeysuckle and ivy plants.  The planters, designed by local landscape consultants (uncommon), are a ‘next generation’ alternative to the hanging basket display and provide a more environmentally sustainable solution to greening the area.  The plants selected are attractive ‘urban weeds’ that can stand a greater degree of heat, shade, lack of water and urban pollution than typical plants used in similar schemes. 

Commissioned by Waterloo Quarter and supported by the Mayor of London, the scheme is the first step towards increasing green infrastructure in the Waterloo area, increasing biodiversity and addressing the impacts of climate change. The planting project represents just some of the opportunities for greening Waterloo Quarter, which were identified by a green infrastructure audit funded by the Mayor of London’s ‘Greening the BIDs’ programme in 2012. 

Speaking about the planting scheme, Helen Santer, CEO of Waterloo Quarter, said: “It is great that so many groups from the Waterloo community are getting involved in this initiative. We’ve been overwhelmed by offers of help and support to maintain the planters and keep them looking smart.”

Deborah Nagan, from (uncommon), said: “This is a really exciting initiative that embraces the ‘urban weed’ to help create more beautiful and environmentally friendly streets.  I can't wait to see all 60 planters in place around Waterloo.”

The other sites are: The Cut, SE1 (opposite LeSoCo), Lambeth North Underground station, the retail parade on Kennington Road and an area on Waterloo Road close to St George’s Circus.  See here for further information.

Planting support has been provided by Collingwood Environmental Planning, Oasis Academy South Bank, Oasis Johanna Primary School, Planning Perspectives and residents from Styles House.  FM Conway provided in-kind support in the form of transport, labour and sand.  Toolshop London, based on Lower Marsh, donated gardening gloves, trowels and forks to the planting volunteers.

Photos from the launch days can be found here