Air quality in Central London is amongst the most polluted in the UK.
As a direct response to air quality issues and as part of The Partnership's commitment to improving and maintaining the local public realm, The BID has partnered with local stakeholders to bring a healthy and beautiful burst of green to "˜The Avenue' development on Tottenham Court Road.
The first of these purification units, along with an information panel, was installed on Saturday, 5 March as part of a trial that will last until July 2017, in affiliation with Treebox, Mace Construction and Exemplar.
The Avenue development, by award winning London developers Exemplar, in partnership with Ashby Capital and The Bedford Estate, will comprise 70,000 sq ft of office space together with 14,000 sq ft of new retail accommodation, all built to high environmental standards. Construction is underway and due for completion in spring 2017 and these APUs will be used throughout this period.
Supported with match funding from the Mayor's Air Quality Fund, the installation is the first of many micro greening sites to be delivered by The Fitzrovia Partnership in an effort to breathe clean air back into London's streets.
The Fitzrovia Partnership BID Manager Lee Lyons said: "We are very excited to be the first Business Improvement District in the country to pilot such innovative technology to support the Mayor's agenda for cleaner air in London.
The Fitzrovia Partnership is committed to working with our members to find unique and pioneering ways in leading the way for improved air quality and greener public realm initiatives for the benefit of the city."
Although trees and shrubs have been a traditional method of capturing and breaking down pollutants; trying to integrate more gardens into our streets whilst competing with pavement space and subsurface services, remains an ongoing challenge within the city of London.
Air purification units - or APUs for short "” are powered by AEROGATION Active Green Wall system – this unique system removes the dirty air from the streets & passes it through the roots of the plants this removes all of the contaminants as well as pollen and dust.
The Avenue, Tottenham Court Road installation represents a 4 square metre area which can produce up to 2 million litres of purified air every 24 hours.
Andrew Kinsey, Head of Sustainability for Mace Construction, said: "Our Tottenham Court Road construction site is the first anywhere in London to host these APUs, and we are delighted to be able to play a key part in improving air quality for London. We are delighted to support The Fitzrovia Partnership, the local community and The Mayor of London in meeting the city's cleaner and greener objectives.
"It's great to be able to pilot and integrate something innovative like this into our working environment. Not only will it help to improve the air quality for our workers and the public, it also sends out a strong message of what we can do to make a difference and address the key issue of pollution."
The Mayor's £20 million Air Quality Fund (MAQF) has supported bold pollution-busting projects across the capital over the past three years. Last month, he announced projects across 28 boroughs which will benefit from a share of £5 million from his fund, including the Air Purification Units at The Fitzrovia Partnership.
Matthew Pencharz, Deputy Mayor for Environment, said: "Protecting the well-being of Londoners is vital and projects such as this, coupled with the Mayor's plans for the world's first Ultra-Low Emission Zone in 2020, are part of the bold measures we need to win London's air quality battle."
These installations are the first adopters of a larger vision to establish 10,000 APUs across London in the next three years. Current research being conducted by Staffordshire University will soon be published to reveal just how efficient the system is in combatting particulate matter (PM) levels and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) emissions.
The aim is to roll out APUs to other locations within Fitzrovia over the year in partnership with Treebox, to help achieve the 10,000 vision. Sites will include tube frontages, phone boxes and railings to provide the best coverage of the most polluted pockets in the area in order to make a tangible difference in improving local air quality.