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Grow your own Christmas dinner with Dobbies Free sustainable Grow How session in Southport

LOOKING to enjoy a sustainably homegrown Christmas feast this year? Dobbies, the UK's leading garden centre, hosts a free Grow How session in its Southport store to show customers how to prepare a delicious dinner with all the trimmings.

Dobbies' Grow How interactive session will take place in Southport on Saturday 6 August, perfectly suited for novice gardeners and experts alike. Dobbies' horticultural experts will spend 10 to 15 minutes delivering an informative:- 'how to' guide on growing Christmas dinner staples - Charlotte Potatoes, Autumn King Carrots, Kale Dwarf Green Curled, Parsnip Tender and True, Swiss Chard Bright Lights. In addition to this, the experts will share top tips on creating a thriving herb garden to elevate your meal.

Impress your guests and feed the whole family from your back garden, allotment or balcony space. Potatoes are a great starting crop for children looking to ignite a passion in gardening, so get the whole family involved in the Christmas preparations this year.

Growing your own vegetables is a great way to support the environment and enjoy some of your 5 a day this Christmas. Sustainability is at the core of this workshop, and Dobbies is highlighting the key benefits of using peat-free compost and safer pest control products in your planters and patches, in addition to showcasing that growing your own heavily reduces your carbon footprint, packaging waste, food waste and eliminates the need for harmful chemical fertilisers.

Sarah Murray, Dobbies' Partnership and Events Manager, said:- "We're putting on our Santa hats early this year at Dobbies' Southport store and doing everything we can to get our customers ready for the big day in a sustainable way. We're passionate about encouraging growing your own and are looking to help reduce our customers' carbon footprint when it comes to food transport and wastage. Our customers really enjoy our monthly Grow How sessions, and we're excited to get into the festive swing this August in our Southport store."

For more details on Dobbies' Southport Grow How sessions in August, visit:-

If you're unable to attend the event, Dobbies' Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles, shares his top tips on growing your own Christmas dinner. "When growing your own Charlotte Potatoes ensure you're continually covering shoots with peat-free compost. This encourages the potatoes to multiply and stops them going green. You'll know your potatoes are ready to harvest when the plants start to flower but the leaves stay green." Marcus explained. Charlotte Potatoes can be kept in a sealed dark bag for seven-eight months, so be sure to keep these wrapped up and ready for your festivities.

Marcus continued:- "Autumn King Carrots need an open site with fertile and well-drained soil, an ideal vegetable for growing in a deep container. Sow your crop in the autumn months and make sure to cover them with an insect mesh to prevent carrot flies. Your harvest will be ready in about 10 weeks so if you plant in October, they'll be ready to eat just in time for Christmas day."

Herbs are another brilliant and easy plant to grow in the garden or from your windowsill inside. Marcus explained:- "Herbs are great to grow at home and you can use them in a wide variety of dishes throughout the year. They're easy to maintain and just need regular water, warmth and light to grow. For festive flavours Parsley, Sage, Thyme and Rosemary are some of my favourites, and Mint is a great option if you're looking to jazz up some festive candy cane cocktails."

Liverpool finds a different 'route' to clean air

LIVERPOOL City Council's Cabinet have green lit plans to improve air quality across the city by committing to quicker and more impactful alternatives to a charging zone. As part of Liverpool's Clean Air Plan, the Council has now moved away from a charging model, which would have seen drivers of non-compliant vehicles pay to drive in certain parts of the City.

Back in 2018, Liverpool City Council was instructed by the Government to produce a Clean Air Plan (CAP) and its aim was to look at how air quality could be improved regarding levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) all in:- 'the shortest possible time.' Air quality monitoring and computer transport modelling has since forecasted nine stretches of road in Liverpool which would exceed the required NO2 value of 40.45 ug/m3 in 2023.

As part of producing the CAP, Liverpool and all other mandated local authorities were required to look at a charging Clean Air Zone (CAZ); as it was believed this would bring forward air quality compliance quicker than any other option.

Despite extensive modelling of different sizes and categories of a Liverpool CAZ, none addressed all the forecast exceedances. The recent experience of the Greater Manchester charging CAZ, highlighted concerns that the effectiveness of a CAZ could be significantly impacted by fleet upgrade delays and affordability issues for residents and businesses; which have all been worsened by the current economic climate.

Due to the same factors being relevant to Liverpool, it became clear that the roll out of any charging scheme could not happen ahead of 2025; by which time, Liverpool would have only 1 remaining exceedance; relating to volume of traffic and the closeness of the buildings, rather than the cleanliness of vehicles, so wouldn't be resolved by a charging zone.

As part of the development of the Council's Clean Air Plan, key stakeholders including residents, businesses and taxis were asked to provide feedback on how a charging zone would impact on them.

With the Clean Air Plan now approved by Cabinet, the outline business case will go to Government next month for their approval, ahead of a full business case being submitted in January 2023.

Learn more about Liverpool's Clean Air Plan at:- LetsClearTheAirLiverpool.Co.UK.

Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, Cllr Daniel Barrington said:- "Air Quality is a really important issue for us, and one we all take seriously; as it makes Liverpool a better place to live, work, do business and spend our leisure time. It's vital that we see improvements to air quality, and I want us to do this in the quickest way possible; keeping us on track for making Liverpool a Net Zero Carbon City by 2030. We are now looking at more ambitious and focused measures across 2023/24 which could be rolled out more quickly and effectively than a charging CAZ."

Karen Agbabiaka, Interim Chief Highways Officer said:- "Transport and Air Quality modelling has shown that a number of different interventions, such as traffic signalling changes, bus stop optimisation and idling enforcement could be all be implemented ahead of the 2025 deadline and provide more impact. Analysis of the data also suggests that on stretch of road in the city that has the highest exceedance could be over forecast, and as such we are collecting more information for that specific location to fully understand the scale of the problem to be solved with an appropriate and refined measure."


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