This project is a series of aspirational visualisations prepared by Amec Foster Wheeler for the Greater London Authority that illustrate how green infrastructure could improve air quality along some of London’s most polluted roads.

Pollution, in the form of particulate matter, harms human health because the toxic particles can be inhaled. Planting on walls, roofs and within the street can improve air quality through catching deposits. Waxy cuticles or fine hairs on the leaves or needles of the plants trap particulates as air circulates through the foliage. Care must be taken to avoid trapping pollution beneath tree canopies within a street ‘canyon’, so green walls and hedges are often most effective. 

The introduction of vegetated filter strips alongside segregated cycle ways can protect cyclists from pollution and traffic and also help reduce storm water run-off. Although routed in an air quality enhancement strategy, the proposals also provide other benefits such as reduction of the urban heat island effect, improved biodiversity and a more attractive environment. 

These interventions are supported with traffic management such as the use of hybrid and electric public and private transport; zero emission zoning; and geo-fencing.

Landscape architect: Amec Foster Wheeler

Credits as supplied: TfL transport for London, The British Library