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Shame on your flower show

Shrewsbury | Readers' letters | Published:

The rave reviews about the flower show held in the Shrewsbury Riverside Quarry are all well and good but the appalling plastic waste issue was for me an absolute nightmare.

This year's Shrewsbury Flower Show

An organisation like the Shropshire Horticultural Society should be ashamed at the amount of single-use plastic it produces at this event as well as the shoddy cleaning and clearing of the Quarry after a two-day event that takes two weeks to set up.

I watched in horror as tent dismantling was taking place before they had even cleared the mound of single use plastic beer cups inside the tent, with the strong winds this was then blown across and into the river system.

They had even set up a bar right up against the river filled to the brim with plastic wrap, bags and cups. I know their comeback will be ‘well we put recycling bins everywhere’ but I don’t think it goes far enough. The men dismantling the structures couldn’t care less about the fact that cups, plastic coverings, plastic bags, polystyrene containers and basic garbage was left to blow into the river all day long, they certainly weren’t clearing it and the amount of people doing clearing was pitiful, making it an absolute disaster for the ecosystem, and not a supervisor or organiser in site.

They then have all the trash piled up in the grass area next to the blue bridge.

Disaster number two, the plastic bags and trash are just so poorly packed and it is just a continuous stream of rubbish blowing into the river not even 12 metres away. Disgraceful. Why oh why is a show of this size held in a space that it squeezes itself into? The disruption and environmental cost are not worth it to me.

Why is this event not held at the Showground, a place fully fenced and set up to deal with the volume of people? I feel so bad for the families coming into the Quarry in the weeks leading up to this bloated event, the squeezes on the space to picnic and play are heartbreaking, some people can’t afford to whip their kids overseas on holidays and this is probably the one place for them to get out. But now its dodging vehicles and cramming into an ever-shrinking space during school holidays.

It seems to me that this is all about profit not about the families and others who use this Quarry daily. It’s so that a privileged few can look at flowers and plants, booze it up using single-use plastic by the ton for two days, wrecking the Quarry for weeks afterwards. This all done by a horticultural society for profit first.

I bet if you took a poll in Shrewsbury if the flower show should be moved to the Showground site it would win an overwhelming majority, freeing up our beautiful Quarry for our use and containing the huge waste mountain that this show produces.

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But we all know that next year it will be bigger with more disruption and more plastic will pour into our river because they only serve the entitled few they put profit before families.Shame on you all.

G Evans, Shrewsbury

Flower show response:

A spokesperson from Shropshire Horticultural Society has responded to the concerns raised in this letter:

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“1. Inconvenience to the Public: The Shrewsbury Flower Show has been held in The Quarry for over 130 years and, whilst the Shropshire Horticultural Society appreciates that this restricts the public’s use of the park, the society takes all reasonable steps to limit this while complying fully with health and safety regulations and the requirements of the licensing authority. The society believes that the over 30,000 visitors we attract, add to the prosperity and vibrancy of the town.

2. Waste (particularly plastic): The society takes the issue of waste very seriously and this year introduced returnable coffee cups resulting in a 20 per cent reduction in general waste. Thanks to the skill of Zero Waste Events, our waste management contractor, no significant waste was blown into the river and all waste generated on site was sorted and packed for recycling and disposal. The site was clear of waste by the Sunday afternoon, the day after the show. The society will continue to optimise waste management, minimise the volume of waste generated and to maximise the volume recycled.

3. Profit and Elitism: Attendance at the show would clearly show that neither participation or attendance is the preserve of a self-appointed ‘elite’. As a charity, the society regularly gives back to both Shrewsbury and Shropshire so that, as well as sponsoring the training of the next generation of horticulturalists, it has donated in excess of £1.6 million to local organisations in the last 20 years, including the Shrewsbury Town Council for improvements to The Quarry itself.”

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