New Chelsea Flower Show exhibit to show why we should all be using permeable paving

The London Fire Brigade will exhibit at RHS Chelsea for the first time this year, demonstrating how planet-friendly gardening can reduce flood risks

gravel driveway with plants in borders around red brick house with white door
(Image credit: Getty / Paul Maguire)

The London Fire Brigade will be exhibiting at RHS Chelsea this year for the first time ever, highlighting the growing problem of urban flooding. The brand new Chelsea Flower Show stand will demonstrate how the paving we choose for our gardens and driveways could help to protect our homes from floods.

It will also leave visitors better informed on what to do if their home is flooded – crucial at a time when flooding incidents in the capital are on the rise.

London cab and cars in flooded road in central london last august

A street is flooded in central London in August 2021

(Image credit: Alamy)

London Fire Brigade permeable paving tip

'We are keen to highlight to Londoners how they can make small changes which could help protect their homes from flooding,' says Bella Trowbridge, The London Fire Brigade’s project manager for RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The stand will explain how permeable paving and additional planting can help to prevent floods.

Permeable paving includes things like gravel, shingle, wheel tracks for the driveway, or resin-bound driveway options. More absorbent driveway ideas such as these, as opposed to solid paving will go some way in preventing drains and sewage systems from being overwhelmed by heavy rainfall.

The Government has in fact recently discussed a potential paved driveway ban for new-build properties in the UK to help clean up waterways.

exhibit from the Discovery Zone at RHS Chelsea 2019

An exhibit in the Discovery Zone at RHS Chelsea 2019

(Image credit: RHS / Sarah Cuttle)

The London Fire Brigade's exhibit will be located in the Great Pavilion Discovery Zone, which focuses on science and the latest innovations and research in the world of horticulture. As well as emphasizing the benefits of permeable paving ideas, the exhibit will outline the different kinds of flooding incidents that the fire service is regularly called to.

'We are really excited to be at this prestigious event to highlight some of the fantastic work our firefighters are carrying out across the city on a regular basis,' adds Bella Trowbridge. 

'We hope our unique exhibition will appeal to people of all different ages and that those visitors who get the chance to view it will leave with a better understanding of what to do in the event of a flood and how our fire services help in such scenarios,' says Bella.

The Pavilion at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show

The Chelsea Flower Show 2019

(Image credit: RHS/Georgi Mabee)

Installing permeable paving in our outdoor spaces and planting more plants and shrubs are two simple ways to create an eco-friendly garden. With the London Fire Brigade attending 12% more flooding incidents in 2021 compared with 2020, individual action will go a long way in preventing local areas from being totally overwhelmed in periods of heavy rainfall.

Millie Hurst
Millie Hurst

Millie joined Gardeningetc in early 2021. She loves creating a vibrant display of containers in her small urban garden and is always picking up new plants at the local garden center. She's never without some fresh flowers at home and her favorite houseplant is her variegated pothos that's currently climbing its way over her bookshelves.