Thursday, 20 September 2018

Hanging baskets will help tackle pollution

Hanging baskets will help tackle pollution

THIS year’s Henley in Bloom summer hanging baskets will help tackle the town’s air pollution problem.

They will contain “hairy” plants that absorb toxins and particulates produced by vehicle exhausts.

Businesses and residents can now place orders for the baskets, which will be supplied and maintained by WindowFlowers, as usual.

The annual hanging baskets scheme is being
co-ordinated by Henley in Bloom and supported by the Henley Standard.

Since we launched the Buy a Basket campaign in 2013 more than 1,000 have been sold.

This year’s baskets will contain petunia surfinia sky blue, petunia surfinia sweet pink, dichondra argenta silver falls, plectranthus madagascariensis variegated mintleaf, begonia illumination white and pelargonium peltatum lilac.

Dichondra, plectranthus and petunia surfinia all have hairy leaves and/or stems. Henley Mayor Kellie Hinton, who chairs Henley in Bloom, said it was important to tackle the pollution problem — the levels of nitrogen dioxide in some town centre streets are 50 per cent higher than Air Quality England’s target limit of 40 micrograms per cubic metre.

She said: “We will be using more air-improving plants. They will be sticky- leaf type plants and flowers which help draw out toxins from the air.

“It may only make a small contribution but every bit we can do helps. It all contributes to improving the town’s air quality.” Miles Watson-Smyth, managing director of WindowFlowers, of Burnham, said: “This year the baskets will be designed to help improve the air quality in the town.

“Included in the mix are ‘hairy’ plants with toxin- absorbing properties.

“These plants not only absorb common pollutants but transport them down to their roots where bacteria help to break down these chemicals to form nutrients for the plant in a symbiotic relationship.

“The plants have also been selected to maximise the floral impact for as  long as possible.

“The colours are selected to ensure that the baskets are really noticed by residents and visitors alike.

“We shall be mixing pastel colours to produce a delicate mix.”

Councillor Hinton added: “It’s about making Henley as attractive as possible.

“We want the town to look beautiful for our residents and there will be the environmental benefits as well.”

The baskets will be installed next month or early in June and removed in the autumn.

Last year 237 baskets were bought by residents, businesses and charities. The scheme is continuing even though Henley is not entering this year’s Britain in Bloom awards after winning six consecutive golds in the Thames and Chilterns in Bloom awards.

Cllr Hinton said: “We still do everything. We do things like planters and baskets because it benefits the town.

“Each year more and more people support the hanging baskets scheme, whether it’s buying a basket for the house or buying one as a donation if they live too far from the town centre.

“We encourage people to do it and it’s not just about the shops, although we would like to see more chain stores providing us with support.”

Each basket costs £62, including VAT. Discounts are available for orders of more than 10 baskets.

A new bracket to hang the basket will cost £26.40 including VAT.

To place an order, complete the order form published here. The form is also available from the town hall.

Alternatively, call Becky Walker at Henley Town Council on (01491) 576982 or email b.walker@henley
towncouncil.gov.uk 

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