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Birds and bees and bins: Green Roof stores at Welwyn North and Welham Green hide the stations' wheelie bins while attracting pollinating insects and birds
Birds and bees and bins: Green Roof stores at Welwyn North and Welham Green hide the stations' wheelie bins while attracting pollinating insects and birds

Press release -

Wheelie bins become wildlife havens at Hertfordshire stations

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the rail firm that operates Great Northern and Thameslink services, has made two Hertfordshire stations more welcoming and sustainable with “green roof” bin stores.

The attractive wooden stores that now hide the big red wheelie bins at Welham Green and Welwyn North have soil-covered roofs seeded with plants that will grow to attract bees and other pollinators. Wire baskets on the side are filled with wood and wool to attract birds and insects to forage and nest in.

Information panels on the stores explain all the plant species used on their roofs. The specially-chosen flowers include ox-eye daisies, scabious and viper’s-bugloss.

The stores have been constructed and installed by community and environmental charity Groundwork East, engaged by GTR to carry out landscaping and community art projects at 18 Thameslink and Great Northern stations across Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk.

Groundwork East’s Operations Manager Chris Dungate said: “The bin store design is a great way to extend our landscaping projects at the stations, with much of the planting designed to attract and support pollinating insect populations that are so ecologically important.

“In a small way these green roofs also reduce flood risk by absorbing rainfall and allowing it to soak away into the ground more slowly.”

Tom Moran, Managing Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, said: “A big thank you to Groundwork East on behalf of our passengers and local neighbours for installing these stores. They’re a highly innovative and environmentally beneficial way to improve the look of the stations, keeping the bins out of sight while supporting local wildlife.

“This is part of our network-wide, multimillion-pound improvement programme, with 1,000 projects – many suggested by local passengers and community groups - making 250 stations more attractive, comfortable and sustainable.”

Besides Groundwork East’s landscaping schemes, the improvement package at Welwyn North includes a new waiting shelter and refurbished toilets. Welham Green passengers will also benefit from a waiting shelter, new information screens and extended CCTV coverage.


Notes to editors

Bin store planting

The full list of plants growing on the bin store roofs is:

scabious, marjoram, poppy, chives, thyme, viper’s-bugloss, ox-eye daisy.

About Groundwork East

Groundwork East is part of the Groundwork Trust, a national network of charities mobilising practical community action against poverty and for the environment across the UK.

Groundwork East is working for GTR on landscaping and community art projects at 18 Thameslink and Great Northern stations:

Norfolk – Downham Market, King’s Lynn

Cambridgeshire – Ashwell & Morden, Shepreth

Hertfordshire – Bayford, Elstree & Borehamwood, Hitchin, Potters Bar, Radlett, Royston, St Albans, Stevenage, Welham Green, Welwyn North

Bedfordshire – Biggleswade, Harlington, Luton, Sandy

About GTR’s wider station improvement programme

GTR’s network-wide, multimillion-pound improvement programme involves over 1,000 projects, many suggested by local passenger and community groups, at more than 250 stations. While we’re working hard to achieve the punctuality and reliability our passengers rightly expect, we want them to know we are with them all the way and making their stations better places to pass through.

The vast number and range of improvements can be described under three themes:

1. Giving many stations a better ambience by redecorating, planting and installing artwork, often with substantial input from the local community

2. Making stations work better for passengers, improving comfort and safety with new waiting rooms and shelters, seating, lighting, information screens, defibrillators for public use, and accessibility schemes

3. Making stations more sustainable, with schemes such as electric vehicle charging points, secure facilities for cyclists, rainwater retention systems, and even bee gardens.

We’ve created dedicated web pages where passengers and local communities can get updates on what’s happening at their station. They can be found at:



For more information, contact the press office on 0203 750 2031.

Govia Thameslink Railway

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

  • Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
  • Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
  • Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
  • Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

Govia Thameslink Railway
United Kingdom