Harrogate Borough Council have have said that the artificial grass that has been put in some of the town centre planters if base for plants that will sit on stop.
Extinction Rebellion Harrogate have removed some of the artificial grass and put soil and plants in.
A council spokesman said:
While we recognise Extinction Rebellion Harrogate’s reasons for removing the artificial grass and installing plants we would have preferred them speaking to us first so that we could have explained the full scheme and how it enables even more plants right in to our town centre.
Traditionally, we’ve put plants in the beds beneath the trees, but these rarely last very long because the trees soak up all the moisture and nutrients in the soil, leading to the plants looking rather sorry for themselves.
Inevitably, this means the beds end up being visually dull and nothing more than a magnet for cigarette butts, empty coffee cups and fast-food takeaway packaging. They look a mess and prompt almost as many complaints as we’ve had about the artificial grass.
The artificial grass is a base for planters that will sit on top of the beds.
These planters – that have already started to be installed – will have their own water source, separate from the tree roots, so that the bedding plants can thrive on their own. This will result in a vibrant display of colour all year round. Using the artificial grass as a base means we can have more and more plants in our town centre and make the area more attractive.
We’ve been asked why we didn’t put down stone or bark. We ruled this out because, regrettably, it will be most likely end up being used as an ashtray or messed-up because it is loose. Surfacing with stone, or something more substantial, would also compromise the tree root system.
This is just a trial though. If, when the beds are fully installed, they don’t make the town look better and bring more plants into the town centre then we will remove them and try something else.
We share the passion people have for Harrogate’s award winning floral displays and is something we will continue to support.
We are also have further plans to reduce carbon emissions having recently identified three new council-owned sites, covering some 17 hectares, for new tree planting schemes.
We haven’t explained this well and we are sorry about that. We concentrated too much on getting the trial in place and not enough time explaining the totality of what we were doing.