Tag Archives: European Union

Mobilane is supporting the International Conference on Living Walls and EcoSystems

Mobilane is excited to be attending the International Conference on Living Walls and Ecosystem Services, hosted by The University of Greenwich at the Green Roofs and Living Walls Centre 6-8 July 2015

The three day event will offer delegates a range of international speakers and industry-lead workshops, as well as walking tours of London living walls conducted before and after the conference, as well as a networking reception and an exhibition of living wall systems.

Workshops at the conference will focus on; system installation and maintenance; plant selection; valuation of ecosystem services; and living walls for vertical farming.

“This is a very exciting event,” says Paul Garlick, National Business Manager at Mobilane UK. “The market for living walls and green roofs is becoming well established in the UK and across many other territories, but there is still a lot of work to be done in underlining and promoting the value of living systems in the urban environment.

“For many people they are an aesthetically pleasing novelty, however, the full benefits are not always understood. So events like this are crucial for not only explaining the benefits in detail, but also for explaining the practical considerations for anyone thinking of embarking on a living system installation.

“The International Conference on Living Walls and Ecosystem Services is attracting the leading experts in the field and is a must-attend event for those who work in the industry, as well as those with an interest in living walls and green roofs. It is a rare opportunity for the living systems community to come together and focus on the industry and to network.”

The International Conference on Living Walls and Ecosystem Services takes place Monday 6th July – Wednesday 8th July at 10 Stockwell Street, SE10 9BD, the brand new library and academic building of the University of Greenwich, which is located within the Maritime Greenwich UNESCO World Heritage Site.

For more details visit http://www.greenroofslivingwalls.org/

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Plight of the Bumblebee and other pollinators

The Government’s launch in June of an urgent review of the crisis facing bees and other pollinators in the UK was heartening news. But in its pledge to introduce a national pollinator strategy, it will be vital that the Government thinks creatively and deploys every weapon in its arsenal to protect pollinators and the essential work they do.

Living walls, green screens and other forms of vertical planting can dramatically boost biodiversity levels in restricted spaces and urban areas because they take up just a fraction of the space required by traditional green areas. With the right selection of plant species, living walls can offer a vital source of nectar for pollinating insects, and provide a network of green corridors that better link built-up areas to the surrounding countryside.

Mobilane’s LivingWall for Waitrose in Bracknell, Berkshire (pictured below) is just one example of a vertical planting scheme created with the specific aim of attracting bees and other wildlife into an urban site. The results have been spectacular – an attractive wall with year-round interest that also supports local biodiversity.

Of course, the Government is right to review the use of pesticides and consider how to properly protect pollinators’ usual habitats like wildflower meadows. Existing government initiatives include 12 new Nature Improvement Areas and the promotion and funding of the sowing of nectar flower mixes on farmland. More drastically, in April the European Union suspended the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides linked to serious harm in bees – despite the opposition of the UK ministers. But the scale of the problem is epic.

In the UK, wild honey bees are nearly extinct, solitary bees are declining in more than half the areas studied and some species of bumblebee have been lost altogether. This trend is repeating worldwide, yet bees and other pollinators fertilise three-quarters of global food crops – their monetary value to world agriculture runs into billion of pounds.

Experts are calling on the Government to enhance the food and nesting sites available to pollinators including flies, butterflies, moths, wasps and beetles, as well as bees. Put simply, we need to plant more flowering plants; the UK alone lost a whopping 97% of our flower-rich meadows between 1930 and 1984.

The challenge is huge but wherever there is bare wall surface, we have an opportunity to help create a habitat and food for pollinators. Each and every additional square meter of flowering vertical planting helps to restore the odds in bees’ favour and this benefits us all.

A Living Wall at Waitrose in Bracknell

 

Plight of the bumblebee and other pollinators

2013 ‘A Year of Air’

Europe – in particular the European Union – is very much in the news at the moment. David Cameron stated earlier this week on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he is looking to seek a ‘fresh settlement’ with Europe and is due to make a much-anticipated speech on the issue on Friday.

Whatever your views on Britain’s involvement with Europe, 2013 looks like it will be an important year when it comes to the formulation of EU air pollution policy. This year is the EU’s Year of Air. For those unfamiliar with this initiative, it is a time when EU air pollution policy will be revised.

With a recent survey by Eurobarometer, the EU’s public opinion poll analysts informing us that the majority of EU citizens do not think their governments do enough to tackle harmful pollutants, now is a good a time as any to join together and push for appropriate legislation to be put in place across the entire region to create standards that will drastically reduce the level of pollutants in the air and so decrease the public health consequences.

Only last year the EU ruled that the UK is already in breach of its air quality directive and that 16 areas of the UK will not meet the legal NO2 limits by 2015.  But what is government putting in place to help resolve this?

Introducing more greenery into the inner city areas where the PM10 and other pollutant levels are at their highest is a quick and easy step to begin improving air quality. Encouragingly, a number of local councils and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, are beginning the process of introducing living walls and green screens in order to absorb pollutants.

Why use living walls and green screens? Well, planting trees is all very well, however time is needed for them to establish themselves in their new home and grow.  Green screens, such as ours, are a more convenient choice as they can begin to work on reducing the levels immediately. We have seen a growth in interest for these and now even sell screens that are as high as 3 meters.

Local authorities should be held more responsible and be given further support in reducing the air pollutants in their areas. With some co-ordinated thinking, hopefully the EU’s Year of Air can help them achieve this – for the sake of everyone’s lungs.