Transport for London (TfL) and the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham have launched an innovative new green wall at The Warren School, the first scheme to be delivered as part of the Mayor's £20 million Air Quality Fund to target pollution at hotspots around the capital. Students at the school on Whalebone Lane North helped to design the wall and created montages on how the plants should be arranged on the green panels to create their own bespoke living wall.
The 54m2 wall is made up of five plant varieties, has been designed to thrive in its location, along the busy A1112 by trapping NO2 and PM10 particulates to mitigate air pollution as well as delivering environmental benefits to the local community.
Tejay Lumumba, a Year 9 student at The Warren School, said: "It important for us to have fresh air and having the green wall in front of our school will show people that air quality is important to us. I helped with the design of the wall and it gave me the opportunity to learn about the different jobs the plants have and how they help the environment by trapping pollution."
Matthew Pencharz, the Mayor's Senior Advisor for Environment and Energy, said: "This attractive new green wall is helping to protect students from air pollution as well as engage and educate them in this important issue. It is one small part of a huge package of measures the Mayor is pioneering to improve air quality across the city. Through retiring inefficient taxis, retrofitting older vehicles, introducing the cleanest and greenest brand new buses, and more, the emission of major pollutants in London is falling. This trend is set to continue apace as London gears up for the game changing Ultra Low Emission Zone."
In June 2013, the Mayor announced that he had awarded £5.4 million to London boroughs and businesses over three years (2013/14 to 2015/16) to work on new measures to tackle air pollution.
The money is being used for a variety of projects including schemes to encourage the construction industry to reduce the environmental impact at work sites and of their vehicles, prompt Londoners to use low emission vehicles, and the planting of green walls or trees to trap pollution and improve our air quality.
Ben Plowden, Director of Planning, Surface Transport at TfL said: "The green wall at The Warren School is a fantastic example of what the Mayor's Air Quality Fund was designed to do. It has brought the local authority and students together to deliver a project to reduce local pollution. There are community projects like this happening all around the capital to improve Londoners quality of life and support a more prosperous city."
Councillor Laila Butt, Cabinet Member for Environment attended the opening event and said: "This project gives a fantastic opportunity for students to learn about plants and the impact they have on the environment as well as giving them a sense of pride not only in their school but also in our borough. "The development of the PRUNE programme, plants rely upon nurturing every day, will provide students with the opportunity to develop skills in maintaining plants, pruning and taking care of plants and shrubs, whilst developing an understanding the role they have in relation to Air Quality."
The Mayor has also asked TfL to look at introducing the world's first Ultra Low Emission Zone in central London from 2020, which he believes will deliver benefits in air quality and encourage the further development and mass take-up of zero and low emission vehicles. In addition, the Mayor and TfL will also be introducing the following measures to reduce air pollution which includes: ·Extra hybrid buses - 600 New Routemasters to be delivered by 2016, which alongside a commitment to deliver additional conventional hybrid buses over the next three years would increase the number of hybrid buses in the capital to over 1,700 by 2016
Proposed £18m programme to retire the last 900 Euro 3 standard buses in London so that all of TfL's bus fleet will be of Euro 4 Standard or better for NOx emissions by the end of 2015Measures to clean up construction sites - these sites are responsible for around 12 per cent of London's NOx emissions and to tackle that the Mayor will introduce a new Low Emission Zone for construction machinery. The standards will be agreed with the construction industry and will be consulted on as part of new Supplementary Planning Guidance. The Mayor will also work with the Environment Agency to rollout the use of dust suppressants at industrial sites. At Horn Lane these reduced concentrations of PM10 emissions by up to 59 per cent.