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Installation highlights importance of EV to British native plant life – CoventryLive – Coventry Telegraph


With COP26 less than two weeks away, Renault – which is pledging to make 90 per cent of its production be electrified vehicles by 2030 – has joined forces with British conservation charity Plantlife to raise awareness of the positive effects switching to electrified vehicles can have on the UK’s flora and greenspaces, as well as public health and the climate.

Research from Plantlife and Renault today reveals that some of the UK’s most beloved native wildflowers are facing extinction, in large part due to vehicle emissions and air pollution.

  • 1 in 5 British wildflowers face extinction
  • 97 per cent of the UK’s grasslands and meadows have vanished since the 1930s, leaving threatened road verges as a refuge for British flora and fauna. These undervalued habitats are home to over 700 species of wildflower – nearly 45 per cent of our total flora – including 29 of 52 species of wild British orchid

Designed by celebrated florist and sustainable champion Larry Walshe – who was awarded a medal for his critically-acclaimed display at The Chelsea Flower Show 2021 and designed the iconic RHS letters on display this year – the installation supports Renault’s mission to make electric travel accessible to everyone and is committed to the development of large-scale electric mobility

The installation features a garden of blooms and foliage bursting outwardly from Renault’s flagship electric vehicle, Zoe. A detailed meadow-like effect of organically grown flora cascades throughout the automobile, alongside both the boot and bonnet and onto the floor. The car was decorated with over 2,500 flowers, and features native British wildflowers including Gentiana as well as species that are classified as endangered including Gladioli, Dahlias and the All 4 Love Rose, which is the world’s most endangered rose.

Ian Dunn, CEO, Plantlife, said: “One in five British wildflowers is under threat of extinction and there is a need for speed if we are to save some of rare and threatened flora from running out of road..

“Cleaner cars delivered at pace offer fresh hope to wild plants that have been force fed a junk diet of fossil fuel fumes for decades. Nowhere is this more keenly felt than on road verges, where air pollution from vehicles combined with poor management has seen floral diversity plummet by 20 per cent as vigorous species such as nettles that can tolerate polluted soils have outcompeted more delicate wildflowers like harebell. Grassland habitats such as road verges are of critical importance in the fight against climate change as they underpin biodiverse ecosystems abounding with wildlife and lock down carbon.”

Larry Walshe, award-winning florist added: “I wanted to create an installation that celebrated the natural wonder of beloved and at-risk flora. Bold, beautiful and provocative, the piece challenges people to think about their own impact on the environment and make positive changes to help protect and conserve our native flowers.”

Tom Barker, Electrification Manager of Renault UK, added: “We all know that electric driving is better for the planet, but one of the least discussed benefits of electric driving is the impact it will have on our own gardens and green spaces. We love our gardens, parks and commons.”

“Electric driving doesn’t only benefit the planet overall, but our green spaces we appreciate and care so much for.”

The installation has been unveiled in the wake of the UK Government announcing it will commit £620m to electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and targeted grants as part of its Net Zero strategy unveiled before COP26, offering the UK and the wider world a brighter future. It challenges the UK’s 32 million drivers to accelerate switching to electrified vehicles before the Government’s 2030 ban. The flowers that were used in the installation were distributed to charitable causes across London.





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