An innovative green wall designed to trap pollution on one of London’s busiest roads has been unveiled at Edgware Road tube station

Living wall brings a breath of fresh air to Edgware Road

The 200sqm green wall is a living mural made up of 14,000 plants of 15 different species chosen with smaller leaves and a variety of textures as these are known to be better air filters of PM10- harmful particulates from traffic fumes. The air quality benefits of the wall will be monitored by scientists from Imperial College London for the next 18 months. This is the first time that such plants have been specifically used and monitored for their performance in accumulating particulate matter.

The wall was pre-grown for eight months in a nursery and was designed, manufactured and installed by Biotecture Ltd. The structure supporting the plants includes ‘Ecosheet’, a waterproof backing sheet made from recycled material, and uses a patented modular system that is designed for low water usage and for easy replacement if plants are damaged or die.

The wall is one initiative as part of the Mayor’s plans to reduce PM10 pollution in the capital by a third by 2015. This includes 500 new street trees and shrubs around busy roads and 50 planted towers on Lower Thames Street.

The first living green wall in the UK was installed in 2005 in Islington, North London, when the technology was in its infancy. The wall was praised as a pioneering green concept, but failed three years later. Since then, systems of irrigation have been tested that have been shown to last if properly maintained. Successful public bio-walls in London include the 170m long green bank at Westfield shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush and at the 02 arena in Greenwich.

Aside from the beautifying aspect of green walls, potential benefits include acoustic insulation to reduce noise and the ability to insulate buildings for better energy efficiency. They may also be cost-effective compared to mechanical scrubbers similarly used to control particulate matter.

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