Homeowners paid to ‘de-pave’ front gardens

Residents of Dutch municipality Groningen can apply for a subsidy of at least 200 euros to remove paving and asphalt from their gardens and driveways. In an attempt to mitigate against the effects of extremely dry, hot and wet weather, households are being encouraged to install a green roof, green a paved garden, plant trees, green walls or collect rain water.

The local council subsidises the de-paving of gardens at a rate of €10 per square metre provided at least 20 square metres of hard surface is removed.

Once paving is removed, rainwater can seep into the soil much more easily and replacement planting provides an oasis for wildlife, from insects to birds and hedgehogs. As an added bonus, in the summer the area will be cooler than a tiled garden.

It has become common here in Britain for suburban houses to create private parking by paving front gardens. It’s a trend that places increased strain on public drains when rainwater runs into the street, deforms pavements when kerbs are dropped and creates a heat trap.

While it seems unlikely that households here would give up private parking for such a relatively small incentive, a Dutch-style subsidy for de-paving gardens could help offset the effects of rising temperatures in the UK.

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