Wheelie bins become wildlife havens at Hertfordshire stations

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the rail firm that operates Great Northern and Thameslink services, has made two Hertfordshire stations more welcoming and sustainable with “green roof” bin stores.

The attractive wooden stores that now hide the big red wheelie bins at Welham Green and Welwyn North have soil-covered roofs seeded with plants that will grow to attract bees and other pollinators. Wire baskets on the side are filled with wood and wool to attract birds and insects to forage and nest in.

Information panels on the stores explain all the plant species used on their roofs. The specially-chosen flowers include ox-eye daisies, scabious and viper’s-bugloss.

The stores have been constructed and installed by community and environmental charity Groundwork East, engaged by GTR to carry out landscaping and community art projects at 18 Thameslink and Great Northern stations across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk.

Groundwork East’s Operations Manager Chris Dungate said: “The bin store design is a great way to extend our landscaping projects at the stations, with much of the planting designed to attract and support pollinating insect populations that are so ecologically important.

“In a small way these green roofs also reduce flood risk by absorbing rainfall and allowing it to soak away into the ground more slowly.”

Tom Moran, Managing Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said: “A big thank you to Groundwork East on behalf of our passengers and local neighbours for installing these stores. They’re a highly innovative and environmentally beneficial way to improve the look of the stations, keeping the bins out of sight while supporting local wildlife.

“This is part of our network-wide, multimillion-pound improvement programme, with 1,000 projects – many suggested by local passengers and community groups – making 250 stations more attractive, comfortable and sustainable.”

Besides Groundwork East’s landscaping schemes, the improvement package at Welwyn North includes a new waiting shelter and refurbished toilets. Welham Green passengers will also benefit from a waiting shelter, new information screens and extended CCTV coverage.