There is great news on the Grow Zones initiative, with Thames Water agreeing to create 3,400sq m of wild flower meadows around the pumping station near Redbridge roundabout. This move will really increase the biodiversity of the area.

Thames Water is the latest public body to join the Grow Zone project, being championed by Wild Wanstead, Vision and Redbridge Council. We have already seen wild flower areas being developed on George Green and Christchurch Green and other locations around Wanstead.

There have also been the growing number of tree pits adopted by residents, which has transformed biodiversity in many streets.

The challenge though moving forward is to not only extend the biodiversity in the public sphere but also the private. So, this can involve increasing the biodiversity in our own homes – extending gardens, cutting back on hard coverings, such as driveways for cars.

There has been something of a rush for all things green over the period of the pandemic, with seeds disappearing out of shops almost as soon as they have been put on display. Bags of compost, plants and garden tools have all been in demand. Hopefully, this welcome new found appetite for growing things will be more easily met with the reopening of garden centres.

There is much that can be done in our own homes and as part of the community. In my own road, people have been exchanging plants (and much else) as part of Whatsapp groups. The products of people’s growing efforts can also be put on offer.

One area where there could be more co-operation is composting. Compost heaps are simple to create and maintain. They take care of much of the green waste, as well as producing a product that helps grow more plants. It really is a win-win.

People can create their own compost heaps or there can be a coming together, where one or two people might decide to collect green material for the compost heap from their road. They then can compost the materials and distribute the finished product back out to the donors. So a virtuous circular process is created – not for everyone but certainly something that has many benefits.

There is some excellent guidance about composting and how to get started at the Redbridge Council website - composting. There are also details of compost bins that can be purchased for around £20.

The present crisis is a time of great change, when other emergencies can be addressed as part of the demands being created by the pandemic. Biodiversity can be increased, as well as CO2 emissions and pollution being cut. These changes are beginning to happen, particularly in our own Wanstead community – long may it continue.