Revolutionary rainwater system uses sustainable methods and can ease flooding

London Bridge home to worlds first vertical rain garden
London Bridge home to worlds first vertical rain garden

A revolutionary new rain-garden system, just completed near London Bridge, has been nominated for a sustainability awarad by the Sustainable Water Industries Group (SWIG). A trial section was installed in Spring 2013 and proved so popular with local businesses and residents that it has now been extended to its full 30m length.

The project was conceived and designed by the Green Roof Consultancy, now the Green Infrastructure Consultancy, and installed by green wall contractor Treebox.

According to GIC's Gary Grant, 'The idea was to make living walls sustainable drainage features through downpipe disconnection. Rainwater from downpipes from the roofs goes into a series of slimline tanks behind the living wall and gradually seeps through to irrigate the living wall without the need for pumps or active irrigation systems.'

The system can store enough water to feed the wall for up to six weeks, with plants able to absorb water gradually. During periods of heavy rain, its water storage system can also help prevent flooding.

The planting is designed for the shady location and includes ivy, ferns and some flowers to attract pollinators. Mixed native planting adds winter colour to the street.

The site, on Tooley Street, was identified as part of the London Bridge Business Improvement District (BID) Green Infrastructure Audit carried out in 2012 by the Ecology Consultancy and GRC. The project was funded by the GLA's Drain London programme as part of its sustainable urban drainage goals.

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