Westminster is trying to bench pollution with a high-tech vertical garden right off Piccadilly Circus.
The over 13-feet tall moss seating structure is called a CityTree and can hold up to 1,682 pots of moss — these have the ability to absorb as much pollution as 275 trees can. They are additionally outfitted with solar panels for energy and rainwater collection abilities for autonomous self-irrigation.
Green City Solution, a German startup, invented CityTrees, and The Crown Estate partnered with its developer Evergen Clean Air to coordinate erecting one in London — the third in the United Kingdom, following Glasgow and Newcastle.
Claire Burgess, The Crown Estate media relation manager, said they worked with the City of Westminster to install this model. Glasshouse Street was chosen, since it was a pedestrian walkway near a high-traffic area without obstructing any important pathways.
“What the CityTree does is provide information of the particulates it is absorbing and the impact it has on the local heat temperatures surrounding it,” Burgess said. “We’re monitoring the data and we’re working with Green City Solutions to share the information with Westminster.”
Getting the massive green structure — standing at four metres high, three metres wide and two metres deep — into London was a two-year process, but it can reduce up to 30 per cent of different airborne pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide.
Councillor David Harvey, cabinet member for the environment, attended the opening of the CityTree and said it will be fascinating to see what impact it will have on the local area.
“This is just one example of the new technology we want to test across Westminster,” Harvey said.
“Air quality is the number one concern for our residents and with over a million people moving into and travelling to our neighbourhoods each day it is crucial that we make more strides to clean up our air and tackle poor air quality for residents and visitors alike.”