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Aeration fountains ordered for Botanic Gardens lake improvements thanks to community fundraising efforts

Two aeration fountains have been ordered as part of the first phase of lakeside improvements at Southport’s popular Botanic Gardens.

Fundraising efforts

The installation of the new aeration systems will be overseen by Sefton Council and will cost £8,500. These costs will be covered by recent fundraising efforts from the Make a Change for Ben group who have donated their funds raised to date to the Botanic Gardens Community Association, a long-standing voluntary group overseeing maintenance and activities at the park.

At the end of August, Sefton Council met with members of the two groups and outlined ideas for up to £30,000 in improvements for the lake and lakeside area.

At the meeting, the groups agreed to prioritise the aerating fountains as the first phase, with the equipment now on order and works expected to be completed this autumn.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“I’m really pleased to be able to say that we are moving forward with the initial improvements to the lake area at the Botanic Gardens and I do want to pass on a huge thank you to everyone in the community who has contributed to the local fundraising efforts to date.

“I know that fundraising activities continue and the generosity of our communities that know and love this park is unwavering.

“Our Green Sefton officers have a long-standing partnership with the Botanic Gardens Community Association and will continue to work with them and all community partners to drive forward further improvements for the whole park. This is in line with our longer-term vision to source a multi-million-pound investment to ensure this historic site can be enjoyed for generations to come.”

Nicola Cave, Community Campaigner, said: 

“We are absolutely delighted by the news of the progress being made to fit aerators in Botanic Gardens Lake. In particular we’d like to thank Cllr Ian Moncur and the Council officers for engaging so positively with the Make A Change For Ben campaign and Cllr Greg Myers for his ongoing assistance.

“We must also thank every single person who has donated to the campaign to make this a reality and cannot wait to see the new aeration fountains in action very soon.”

David Rawsthorne, Make a Change for Ben Campaign Founder, said:

“I am absolutely delighted that our campaign and Sefton Council have worked hand-in- hand over the last three months to secure local contractors to carry out works on the aeration fountains. Huge thanks to all the people who have got involved and helped to get us where we are now.”

Earlier this year, Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service confirmed it was looking at ways to develop and improve the Botanic Gardens to offer better facilities for its communities as well as providing a positive boost to the local visitor economy.


In time, it is expected funding will be sought from streams through organisations that support the heritage sector. Around £5 million is likely to be required to deliver the Council’s ambitious plans to transform the park.

The major proposals are at the very early stages of development and next steps will include launching a public consultation in 2022. This will bring together the views of residents, regular park users, visitors and the dedicated volunteer groups who support many projects at the park to keep the space clean, green and beautiful for all.

Anyone interested in helping to shape the developing project, or would like to volunteer in the Botanic Gardens, can contact the Botanic Gardens Community Association at

Go Wild this half term with Green Sefton!

Sefton Council’s Green Sefton team are inviting schools from across the Borough to take part in ‘Go Wild’ activities during October half term.

Running from the 18th – 22nd October 2021, school children will have the opportunity to enjoy a taste of the wild in the many open greenspaces in Sefton.

From den-building, bug hunting and beachcombing, Community Rangers are planning a range of fun activities to get children exploring in nature.

Schools can participate in the activities at the following sites:

  • Ainsdale Beach
  • Copy Farm
  • Derby Park
  • Moorside Park

To book a place, contact the Green Sefton team on or call 0151 934 2964.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for school children to have fun in nature and spend time with other children during their half term break. We are so fortunate to have a range of diverse greenspaces across our Borough and it’s great to see activities like this happening during school holidays.”


New bins introduced across Sefton at littering hotspots

The Council’s Green Sefton Service has secured funding for 48 replacement bins to be installed at key littering hotspots across parks and coastal locations.

Green Sefton is responsible for managing more than 500 bins across 121 sites and is using its successful bid for funding to target locations with high footfall and those that have historically been affected by nuisance littering.

New bin installed at Crescent Gardens, Seafront Gardens, Waterloo
New bin installed at Crescent Gardens, Seafront Gardens, Waterloo

A total of £22,358 in UK Government funding has been awarded to the Council under the Resource Action Fund to help support its important work to improve the ‘binfrastructure’ (bin infrastructure) within litter-prone hotspots.

The Resource Action Fund is an £18 million fund, provided by Defra and managed by environmental charity WRAP, which supports resource efficiency projects in England in the key areas of food, plastics, textiles, recycling and litter. It does so through a variety of mechanisms including large and small-scale grants.

Open top 80-litre capacity bins across 48 spots, are being replaced with larger 120-litre capacity bins with a covered top. Twenty of the new bins will feature a bright yellow top so that they are easier for people to spot when using those spaces.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“Sefton has 22-miles of stunning coastline, more than 30 parks and around 180 open spaces. All these places have been more popular than ever throughout the pandemic, for both residents and visitors, as people have enjoyed spending more time outdoors.

“Sadly, not everyone has helped to protect these spaces by taking their rubbish home or using the bins provided. At the coast this can threaten rare species and damage sand dunes, and in parks it is incredibly unsightly and undermines the hard work our Green Sefton officers undertake on a daily basis to keep these spaces clean and tidy.

“Our aim here is to target key sites where we regularly see bins reach capacity. We’re also targeting areas with high levels of footfall where aimless littering often affects our communities who rely on these spaces.”

Locations that will benefit from the new bins are:

  • Ainsdale Village Park
  • Botanic Gardens, Southport
  • Bowersdale Park, Seaforth
  • Duke Street Park, Formby
  • South Park, Bootle
  • Amos Square Park, Litherland
  • Bedford Park, Southport
  • Crosby Coastal Park
  • Derby Park, Bootle
  • Hesketh Park, Southport
  • Seafront Gardens, Waterloo

Green Sefton officers will monitor the impact of the new bins and it is hoped that they will reduce littering levels in some of the Borough’s most-used outdoor spaces.

Larger capacity bins may also help to reduce the frequency that they need to be emptied, freeing up officer time to carry out essential maintenance across other popular visitor locations.

Claire Shrewsbury, Director of Insights and Innovation WRAP, said:

“We are pleased to be able to support Sefton Council to improve and expand its binfrastructure network with grant support through the Resource Action Fund. Resource efficiency projects such as this will help us achieve our goal of diverting and reducing waste, and better managing resources.”

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

“Nobody wants to see litter in their communities. It tarnishes town centres, harms our wildlife and wastes taxpayers’ money cleaning it up.

“A key part of tackling this blight is to ensure that local areas have the right bins in the right places. That is why the Government is investing in the binfrastructure fund so we that we can have hundreds of new bins across the country, making our communities cleaner and safer.”

Cllr Moncur added:

Sefton is a clean, green and beautiful Borough and the cleanliness of our outdoor spaces is very important to us. We want to reassure our residents that we are doing everything our resources allow to tackle littering through schemes like this, and we will continue to explore ways to reduce litter.” 

People are also reminded that littering is a criminal offence and can ultimately result in a fine for those that continue to flout the rules. Anyone witnessed dropping litter by a Civil Enforcement Officer can be issued an on the spot Fixed Penalty Notice of £75.

Street artist Paul Curtis completes gigantic transformation of Ainsdale’s Toad Hall

Award-winning street artist Paul Curtis has completed work on his largest ever mural to date – thought also to be the largest painting created by a single artist in the UK – transforming Ainsdale’s Toad Hall.

Huge finished sand lizard painting by Paul Curtis on the side of Ainsdale's Toad Hall
Huge finished sand lizard painting by Paul Curtis on the side of Ainsdale’s Toad Hall

Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service commissioned Paul to carry out the work as part of its plans to invest in and develop the Ainsdale-on-Sea coastal area.

Paul, who burst onto the street art scene around three years ago, began painting the tribute to the Sefton coast’s rare sand lizards in August.

He has used 330 litres of paint, 42 spray paint cans and spent 360 hours, through rain and sunshine, creating the incredible scene across the exterior of the building.

Depicting the environmentally important Ainsdale dunes, it features not just one, but two sand lizards taking pride of place across the design.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“We gave Paul an enormous challenge when we asked him to brighten up Toad Hall and I can certainly say that he has stepped up to that challenge. His mural is a magnificent celebration of our unique and environmentally-important coast.

“Paul has captured our Ainsdale dunes and sand lizards perfectly, and I know that people will travel from far and wide to get a glimpse of the finished mural.”

Artist Paul Curtis said:

“This is a project I was extremely keen to be part of. The sheer scale and the challenge that comes with a mural like this is something I had to literally get my teeth into. I used to visit Ainsdale a lot and I often wondered what the story of Toad Hall was, but I never imagined that I would end up painting it. 

“The are many, many challenges involved with a building like this. This is far from a flat canvas; there are numerous nooks and crannies, pillars and alcoves. This presents difficulties in simply accessing certain parts, but also in making the image line up and make sense. The claws of the lizard were one of the most difficult things I have ever painted because of this 3D challenge. I knew this would be a tough assignment and I knew it would take time.”

The idea for an art installation on the Toad Hall building was developed by the Council’s Green Sefton team. They consulted with members of the community and community groups as well as local Councillors on the design for the mural.

Cllr Ian Moncur, artist Paul Curtis and Green Sefton’s Development Officer Andy Cutts stood in front of the sand lizard mural
L-R Cllr Ian Moncur, Paul Curtis and Green Sefton’s Development Officer Andy Cutts

Commenting on the design, Paul said:

“The initial designs went for the obvious…put a toad on Toad Hall. However, after producing a series of toady designs, none of them seemed to work. We took the tough decision to scrap that idea completely. Eventually the sand lizard idea was landed on. This would fit the bill. Bright vibrant colours, elongated shape to match the proportions of Toad Hall and part of the local fauna. It ticked all the boxes! 

“I have never painted a lizard before, but I have done a couple of snakes, so I prepared myself for thousands of skin scales! The Marram grass and coastal environment is designed to form an illusion so that when you walk over the dunes, due to perspective, the mural should emerge from the horizon as though part of your near surroundings.”

The Sefton coast is one of the UK strongholds for the rare sand lizard species which is one of the reasons why the coastline is recognised as a Site of Special Scientific Interest – helping to protect vital habitats.

Both male and female lizards will soon be heading into hibernation which takes place between October to March.

The warmth-loving species rely on the heat of the dunes for a successful life cycle and are about 20cm long. Males are brighter green in the summer months and females usually a duller colour.

Male sand lizard
Male sand lizard

Sefton Council works alongside conversation charities and environmental organisations like Natural England to help protect the lizards and improve habitat by removing invasive plants.

People are reminded not to dig in the dunes so as not to damage eggs or disturb hibernating lizards.

Paul said:

“It’s been a joy to work on this project.  So many people stopping me and really enthusing about the artwork. The joy on the kids’ faces when they see the mural. Everyone who approached me was so positive. I hope that this artwork gains national interest in the way that the Iron Men did for Crosby.

“Thanks again to everyone in Ainsdale for being so hospitable and making me feel welcome.” 

Cllr Moncur added:

“The mural has really put Ainsdale on the map and marks the start of a longer-term plan for the Council to work alongside the community to improve facilities for all, while protecting the landscape that we are all lucky to be custodians of.”

There are just a few days left for people to submit their views on the long-term development proposals for the Ainsdale-on-Sea area.

The Council’s public consultation is open until Thursday 30th September online at

Help Sefton Council to shape its flood and coastal erosion risk strategy for the next decade

Sefton Council, as the Lead Local Flood Authority (LLFA), is drawing up a new strategy to protect its communities from the risk of flooding and coastal erosion over the next decade.

The new management strategy will outline the clear roles and responsibilities of not only the Council, but other risk management authorities including the Environment Agency, United Utilities, Highways England and the Canal and River Trust.

It will set out the actions that will be undertaken to reduce the risk and impact of flooding and coastal erosion on Sefton’s communities and highlight simple actions that residents themselves can undertake in support of this.  

Arial view of the coastline at Southport
Arial view of the coastline at Southport

Everyone living in Sefton is encouraged to take part in the period of consultation on the draft strategy, ensuring that their views are heard before the plan is finalised in early 2022.

The public consultation includes the opportunity for the strategy, and associated business plan, to be viewed in full, followed by a short survey to gather thoughts from residents.

People can take part online at and have up until Wednesday 17th November 2021.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:

“We are very proud of our unique borough with its 22 miles of amazing coastline and diverse landscapes among our urban residential areas and business hubs. One thing we have in common with the rest of the country, and especially other coastal authorities, is the risk of flooding and erosion and the complex challenges that we face to manage the impact of such events on our communities.

“That is why it’s vital for us to develop, maintain, apply and monitor a local flood risk management strategy, and to seek the views of those who live here in Sefton as we look to shape that plan for the next decade.”

Flood and erosion events can affect not only those living in high-risk areas, but also transport networks, schools, highways and local businesses. They can also have detrimental environmental impacts on rare habitats and species, which is why the Council is dedicated to producing a management strategy that is fit-for-purpose and recognises the increasing challenges of the climate emergency and where targeted and risk-based investment is needed.

The Council’s own plans must align with the Environment Agency’s national strategy that looks 100 years into the future and considers the risks climate change presents and the options to adapt to this challenge.

Cllr Moncur added:

“Over the past decade due to a combination of severe weather events and instances occurring from rivers, sewers and surface water, we’ve seen significant flooding events in neighbourhoods across Sefton, including most recently at the start of 2021 in Maghull.

“These events can have devastating environmental, social and economic impacts, making a sustainable flood risk management strategy absolutely essential for our communities. And is complementary to our on-going work with partners, such as the recently formed strategic flood resilience group, where we share expertise and identify actions that can be taken individually and collectively to reduce the overall risk.

“I would urge everyone across Sefton to take part as we shape this plan for the next decade to ensure their views are heard.”

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