Ditching concrete for wildflowers - London Wildlife Trust helps local people to de-pave

By Helen Spring

An ambitious project by London Wildlife Trust to replace the hard standing at the forecourt of Rosendale Allotments with new greenspace, which also helps to reduce local flooding, has won the Lord Mayor’s Dragon Award for Community Partnership. The award recognises the strong partnership between local people, London Wildlife Trust and the Mace Foundation that made the project possible and in turn, benefits the people living and working in the local area. Many thanks to everyone from the community who has given their time to contribute to the project through scheming, planning and planting; we hope that the contribution of proactive local people to improve this corner of Dulwich will inspire others to ditch the tarmac and do the same!

Previously at Rosendale Allotments, large amounts of rainwater used to run downhill from the site through the bottleneck at the forecourt area and flow into Turney and Burbage Road, increasing risk of flash flooding in this area through sewer overflows in times of heavy rainfall. Through replacing concrete and tarmac with cellular paving, the area can now store up to 80,000 litres of rainwater (enough to fill 8,000 baths), whilst also converting hard grey paving into a soft green landscape for plot holders and passers-by to enjoy. The paving is strong enough to support the delivery vehicles that visit the allotments and is seeded with wildflowers and a grass and clover mix to create over 100 square metres of new green space for the benefit of people and wildlife in Herne Hill and Dulwich.

This project is an example of reversing a worrying trend sweeping across London and the UK. Every year an area of green space equivalent to two and a half Hyde Parks is lost from London’s private gardens; as green space is replaced with paving, decking, parking spaces and buildings. This is a huge loss to the city’s wildlife, a risk to the health of our urban environment and can significantly increase local flood risk. Depaving is a simple way to reverse the negative impacts of this loss, creating greener and healthier places for us to live.

If you would like to find out more about London Wildlife Trust’s Lost Effra project, that partners with communities in the catchment of the culverted River Effra to reduce flood risk through working with nature, please email Helen Spring, Lost Effra Project Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow us on twitter @LostEffra.

Go to top