Elmdon Park – Winner of a Green Flag award

Award

Green Flag Award

Name

Elmdon Park, Solihull

Organisation

Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council

Summary

Elmdon Park, Solihull has won a Green Flag award every year since 2002.  It achieved a high score for its methods of environmental sustainability in energy and natural resource, conservation and pollution, not to mention working with Birmingham International Airport to prevent bird strikes.

The challenges

For the park to facilitate play and recreational activities as well as having a nature reserve and promoting wildlife.

The solutions

Local Nature Reserve, lake and brook used for nature conservation and wildlife.

Use of spring water to attract geese and help limit their numbers.

Banned use of residual pesticides. Wherever practical, the use of any pesticide is minimized and an alternative solution sought.

All recyclable compostable material is used on site or removed for composting. Where material from arboricultural works cannot be utilised on site, it is made available to the public for mulching or firewood.

The lake’s margins have been seeded with reed and marginal vegetation and surrounded with protective bow top fencing, which helps manage the geese populations by restricting access onto the banks. This was carried out in consultation with Birmingham Airport and the Civil Aviation Authority to reduce the potential risk of bird strikes.

Live willow fencing prevents the ducks from waddling onto the wildflower grassland and eating the seeds.

An additional wetland scrape was created in 2001 in a hollow to aid drainage from the surrounding grassland. This has had the effect of attracting native geese away from the lake, where people congregate, and helps to limit their numbers.

Cleared autumn leaves and annual bedding plants from the park are offered to nearby allotment sites for composting.

It is council policy to use peat free compost within the park.

The results

The park is a venue for a number of events including the successful Easter Egg Hunt, which attracts over 700 children annually.

Recent works to the lake have improved water quality, provided interpretation and created nesting sites for wildlife.

Habitat diversity has been increased by the creation of a wildflower meadow covering over 20 hectares, and Elmdon Park Woodland is designated a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation.

Geese numbers have not increased.

Waste minimisation is of a good standard.

The Council bedding supplier has been providing all annual plants in peat free compost since spring 2005.

Learning points

After commissioning environmental studies of the park, solutions have been put into place to improve the park for both visitors and wildlife.

Judges feedback this year praised the Councils ‘Ongoing efforts to improve biodiversity’ and the successful involvement of the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust with community involvement and development of an active Friends group. The implementation of Arboriculture and woodland management was also praised.

SWM comment

We commend Elmdon Park for their efforts to become more sustainable in their use of energy and natural resources as well as for promoting conservation and limiting pollution.

Contact

For more information please go to the Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council website.  Alternatively you can call Rebecca Webber on 0121 704 6115 or email rwebber@solihull.gov.uk.