Research to be done into loss of front gardens

100 volunteers needed for local environmental project

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There is growing concern that hard surfacing of front gardens is becoming an environmental problem, and also a social issue. Research to date shows a large number of detrimental effects but very little is known about the amount of hard surfacing there is within the borough of Ealing.

Ealing’s LA21 Pollution & Public Health Project Group is aiming to conduct the first ever assessment of the amount and type of hard surfacing of front gardens in an urban area. They have a small grant from Ealing Council to conduct the computer analysis but we need the help of 100 volunteers to record the amount of hard surfacing in a random sample of 198 residential roads across the borough. This is 10% of the total number of such roads.

Each volunteer will be asked to survey 2 roads, or more if they can, in one of the borough’s wards. For each sampled road, a volunteer completes an observation form which collects information on each front garden, including the estimated % hard surfaced, the material(s) used, whether the garden appears to be in use for vehicle parking, whether a pavement cross-over is present and whether boundary structures (hedges, fences, walls) are present.

No access to gardens is required – the volunteer stays on the pavement and uses a ready-reckoner (which has been derived from drawings of about 50 front gardens sent in by volunteers) to asses the % hard surfaced.

The research is being managed by a steering group from Ealing’s LA21 Pollution & Public Health, Natural Environment & Biodiversity and Energy & Built Environment Project Groups.

They need help from volunteers – either individuals or community groups – in or prepared to work in the London Borough of Ealing, to help conduct this research starting at Easter 2005. If you or your community group can help, please contact the following:

  • Andrew Lyon, Senior Environmental Health Officer at Ealing Council, on 020-8825 7308 daytime or email
  • Christine Eborall, LA21 Pollution & Public Health Project Group, on 020-8991 0006 evenings/weekends, or email

March 28th, 2005