Mystery over plastic plants in LTN boxes

Enfield Council denies installing plastic shrubs to replace dead foliage, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter

Plastic 'shrubs' in the Bowes Park LTN plant box
Plastic ‘shrubs’ in the Bowes Park LTN planters

Mystery surrounds the appearance of plastic shrubs in a plant boxes installed at a low-traffic neighbourhood (LTN) in Bowes Park.

Enfield Council has denied planting plastic foliage at the junction between York Road and Brownlow Road and claims residents are likely responsible.

Large boxes dubbed ‘planters’ were used as physical barriers to prevent non-residential traffic from cutting through the LTN area when the scheme – officially known as the Bowes Primary Area Quieter Neighbourhood – was launched in 2020.

Other planters in the LTN area contain real plants but have also been used to dispose of rubbish including drinks cans, bags of dog poo and takeaway boxes. A sign in the box containing the plastic plants states: “Replanting! Please – no poo bags or rubbish.”

The plastic shrubs sparked concerns when they appeared last month, with some on Twitter suggesting they went against the environmental goals of the LTN. But one poster claimed a resident had “thoughtfully provided some temporary colour pending council replanting”.

Kathie Burke, who lives in Highworth Road, said the plastic shrubs could have been installed by local residents “because they are getting fed up with bags of dog poo [in the planters]”.

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She added: “I just think that we don’t need more plastic, however well-meaning.”

Kathie claimed the LTN was causing increased congestion and pollution, and “neon green” plastic plants were “not going to cheer anyone up”.

Dead plants, litter and bags of dog poo blight other plant boxes in the LTN
Dead plants, litter and bags of dog poo blight other plant boxes in the LTN

A council spokesperson said: “The plastic plants in the planters at the junction between York Road and Brownlow Road were not installed by the council or its contractor.

“The council’s contractor is responsible for ensuring real plants are planted and are established. The planters are incorporated into the council’s annual maintenance plan. Therefore, it is possible that the plastic plants were planted by residents.

“A particularly harsh winter has resulted in damage to a number of plants, which is why the plant beds may have been bare. Enfield Council officers are assessing the plant beds across the borough and will restore real foliage when the weather allows.

“It is disappointing that people are not disposing of their rubbish in a responsible way, but our street cleansing teams will visit the planters in question to remove litter.”

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