Artificial “Trees” in London Offer an Impressive Climate Mitigation Solution

By Alex Landon

City Trees

Say hello to the capital’s new City Trees!

The world is, finally, awakening to the imminent threats posed by climate change and pollution, and London is starting to do its bit to help. From zero-emissions streets to pollution-eating solar panels, along with restaurants trending towards zero-waste and veganism, the capital has begun to put greener, more sustainable methods into practice. Next in the war on global warming are three new City Trees, a series of CO2-filtering structures which have just been installed in Leytonstone.

Useful as they are, calling the City Trees ‘trees’ is a bit of a misnomer. They’re actually towers filled with different types of moss, which eat up particulates and nitrogen oxides whilst simultaneously producing oxygen. The City Trees include their own irrigation and energy systems that allows them to operate whatever the weather, and also collect data about the surrounding environment, which can then be used to inform further green solutions.

City Trees
A City Tree in place outside Leytonstone tube station. Photo: @ansonmackay

Each moss tower has the air-cleaning capability of 275 regular trees, making them an extremely powerful tool for improving air quality, especially in polluted areas where it wouldn’t be possible to plant such a large number of trees. Another handy benefit – especially given the scorching July we had last year – comes from the mosses’ ability to store large amounts of moisture, which keeps the surrounding air cooler.

You’ll find the City Trees outside Leytonstone tube station (where a pair have been installed) and on the intersection of Leytonstone High Road and Crownfield Road – both pollution hotspots within the borough of Waltham Forest, which announced a Climate Emergency last summer in order to tackle the problem head-on. It’s not the first time London has seen City Trees on its streets – a 2018 trial saw them pitch up in the West End for a few months – but with these trees being permanent installations, one can only hope it’s another small step towards a cleaner, greener city.

Find out more about City Trees from their website.

Alex Landon writes for Secret London.

This article was published on January 7 at SecretLondon.

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