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EEA proposal: The hanging gardens of Hackney

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The European Environmental Agency (EEA) is considering plans to encourage city dwellers to grow their own food

The EEA wants to impose Europe-wide building regulations encouraging developers to include ‘vertical allotments’ in designs. They propose that every city should have a showcase building with ‘living walls’ of cultivation.

One idea is to harvest rainwater on rooftops and use a network of pipes to allow the water to drip through each level.

Jacqueline McGlade, director of the EEA, said: ‘Managing our urban spaces as extensions of agriculture will reduce the demand to turn forests into farmland.

‘The idea of living walls and vertical allotments is very old, going back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It’s amazing we haven’t done more of this before.’

Flat roofs in London are thought to cover an area around 24 times the size of Richmond Park. In addition, yesterday (9 July) the National Trust started a campaign to get more people living in flats to grow food in window boxes. The UK has five million flats with 600 acres of window box space.

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