Research from British conservation charity Plantlife and Renault has revealed that in the UK one in five wildflowers is at a risk of extinction due to pollution.
According to the data, since the 1930s 97 per cent of the country’s grasslands and meadows have disappeared, while floral diversity plummeted on road verges, usually home to hundreds of different species of wildflowers.
“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,” commented Plantlife’s chief executive Ian Dunn.
“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.”
Unveiled today, the research was commissioned by the French car giant ahead of COP26 to show its commitment towards the net zero automotive transition. The group also joined forces with award-winning florist Larry Walshe, who designed an installation to raise awareness on the positive effects of electric vehicles.
Barker filled Renault’s flagship electric vehicle, Zoe, with 2,500 British wildflowers and endangered species. The installation was unveiled in London’s Victoria Park ahead of the UN conference.
“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,” added Renault UK’s electrification manager Tom Barker. “Electric driving doesn’t only benefit the planet overall, but our green spaces we appreciate and care so much for.”