Green wall installed at The Mermaid to help trap pollutants

Published on Tuesday, 10 July 2012 10:08
Posted by Vicki Mitchem

An innovative green wall has been installed at The Mermaid in Blackfriars to help reduce harmful pollution. The 120m2 wall is made up of 15 plant varieties designed to reduce locally generated pollution, particularly from nearby busy roads.

This is Transport for London's (TfL) second green wall in the Capital, following one installed on Marylebone Road at Edgware Road Tube station last year.

The green walls are part of a package of targeted short term measures TfL is introducing at places where PM10 levels are highest.

Other initiatives include the use of dust suppressants, tree planting and the use of cleaner buses.

This is all in addition to London-wide schemes to cut pollution such as an age limit for taxis and tighter standards for the Low Emission Zone.

The vibrant green wall at The Mermaid has been designed to include plants which will thrive in its underpass location.

The attractive swirling planting design takes inspiration from the nearby Thames, the connection with water and The Mermaid.

The wall forms part of the underpass located on Puddle Dock, parallel to Upper Thames Street.

The mixture of native and ornamental plants has been selected particularly for the highway location and wildlife value.

The wall will contain plant varieties in a mixture of vibrant colours including yellows, greens and blue tones, along with some variegated plants.

Preliminary data gathered from the Edgware Road site by scientist Dr Linda Davies and her colleagues from Imperial College London, suggests these green infrastructure features are successful at capturing some airborne pollution.

The team collected leaf samples from the green wall for five months since its installation in order to evaluate their ability to trap airborne particulate matter.

An initial analysis shows that all 15 varieties of plants have been able to trap pollutants, although some have been more effective than others.

Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor's Eenvironment Advisor, said: 'The Mayor is taking a range of robust measures to cut pollution.

'Green infrastructure is an innovative approach that provides a practical way to absorb dust from road vehicles and an attractive feature.

'We have installed several walls to test which plants work best and we want to share this knowledge to encourage their wider uptake.'

Dr Linda Davies, Imperial College London, said: 'Results so far show some plants capture particles better than others, and small hairy leaves appear to do this the best.

'Green walls offer a wide range of environmental benefits such as helping cities keep cool and providing a haven for wildlife.'

Alicia Duncan, General Manager of The Mermaid said: 'The installation of a living wall helps to impact the area aesthetically as well as environmentally.

'The Mermaid currently has a silver award in Green Tourism and a platinum award from the City of London in waste management and recycling.

'Any new ideas are looked at and implemented if beneficial, and current practices are constantly reviewed to ensure we have the minimal adverse effect on the environment.'

TfL has also provided Crossrail with funding to install green screens at five of their constructions sites.

These screens are part of the hoardings which surround the working sites.

Four of the green screens are in place at Park Lane, St George Street, Hanover Square and Finsbury Circus, a further screen will be installed later this year on Farringdon Road.

Having invested in these trial sites, TfL is in discussions with other businesses where third party funding is available in order to deliver additional green walls including sites in Victoria and Chiswick.

Source: ©TFL

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