Durham adds another trophy to the environmental cabinet with the In Bloom award – Palatinate
By Freddie Corrin
Durham was awarded gold in the 2022 Northumbria In Bloom (NIB) awards. NIB singled out the Botanical Garden, Wharton Park, and local housing estates in particular as worthy of “commendation for their efforts” in bringing the city “alive with color”.
Additionally, Durham’s roundabouts, maintained by County Council’s Civic Pride team, deserve special praise. 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 so vibrant’.
As well as its flowerbed work, the Council is displaying its £500 grant scheme, which is available to local community groups under the Royal Horticultural Society’s ‘It’s Your Neighborhood’ scheme.
This year’s award is Durham’s 18e has won the award for best big city or best small town for the past 23 years and is the latest in a long line of local and national environmental accolades and rankings.
Nationally, Solarcentre says Durham is the greenest city in the UK, topping the ranking of 59 city areas on air quality and just missing out on top spot for green spaces, parks and nature reserves.
The award comes as the government plans to move forward with an overhaul of planning regulations which are criticized on environmental grounds and are already proving unpopular among MPs on both sides of the House.
The Express reported on Sunday that Leveling Up Secretary Simon Clarke risked creating new rifts within the Conservative Party by pushing for faster home construction, fewer environmental protections and less stringent affordable housing requirements.
It is the latest in a series of environmental issues the government has battled over the past year, which also includes outrage over the dumping of raw sewage directly into river systems, including Wear. Palatinate reported on local MP Mary Foy’s dismay at the state of Wear.
Moreover, the government’s announcement of new “investment zones” in its September “mini budget” has been widely criticized by environmental organisations.
The North East Combined Authority (NECA), which includes Durham, has expressed no interest in the plan and will therefore not be considered for potential future areas of investment. NECA’s stated mission is to “create the conditions for economic growth and new investment”.
Image: kaysgeog via Flickr