Green pollution barrier breaks ground

Work has begun to install a pioneering barrier of plants and shrubs, designed using the research of a Department of Landscape Architecture PhD student, around the playground of Hunter’s Bar Infant School.

The barrier will filter air pollution from passing traffic and improve air quality for the school’s 270 pupils.

Top Sheffield businesses – including Henry Boot Construction, Arup and Urban Wilderness – have joined forces to support the installation of the barrier, which has been designed using data collected from the Breathe project; researching inner-city school air quality and the impact of living green barriers in playgrounds.

The four-year-long study, which is funded by the Grantham Centre for Sustainable Futures, is being conducted by PhD candidate María del Carmen Redondo Bermúdez.

Maria has taken daily measurements of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5) from Hunter’s Bar Infant school playground and will be comparing the levels before and after the green barrier has been constructed.

Landscape Architects from Urban Wilderness are working closely with Maria to incorporate early research findings into the plant selection and planting design.

On 31 July, Henry Boot Construction and their subcontractors RB Alfree broke ground at Hunter’s Bar Infant School playground, delivering the pre-planting ground-works needed for the air pollution barrier.

The #GoGoGreen campaign was launched in March this year, by Hunter’s Bar Infant School and the Department of Landscape Architecture to raise awareness, funds and support for the 60m long barrier.

In April 2019, leading Sheffield Business Together (SBT) members, Arup and Henry Boot, offered their expertise and resources to support the #GoGoGreen initiative. SBT is a collaboration of Sheffield businesses that strategically connect and share resources with charities in order to address key city challenges.

Andrew McDowell, Associate Director at Arup and Vice Chair of Sheffield Business Together said: “GoGoGreen is an ideal project for SBT. Our vision is to bring businesses together to collaborate on projects that address the broader city challenges, that no one business could deliver on its own. The ‘environment’ is a key theme for SBT and air quality is a particular issue for Sheffield. We are excited to be part of this groundbreaking project and research that could eventually benefit so many children across the city.”

Since April, engineering consultancy Arup has joined with Urban Wilderness to produce structural elements of the landscape drawings and Henry Boot Construction volunteered as the principal contractor; bringing with them subcontractors RB Allfree and survey specialists Sub Scan.

Gary Holmes, Contracts Manager, Henry Boot Construction Limited said: “As a local contractor, we are delighted to support the school in delivering the #GoGoGreen project. The innovative scheme will lead to improved air quality for children for years to come and we are grateful to subcontractors Sub Scan and RB Allfree for providing their assistance with the groundworks.”

The project has also received in-kind services, kit and consultation from Urban Flows Observatory, Amey, Enzygo, Ecothrive and Ramm Sanderson, and many more businesses have donated money for plants and materials.

In October this year, the school community, The University of Sheffield and Sheffield businesses will join together to plant the living green barrier in the newly prepared playground.

By raising awareness of air quality challenges faced by inner city schools and partnering with Sheffield Business Together, there is an ambition to create a barrier blueprint, which will support other schools to install similar living screens.

Businesses have supported the school as part of their corporate social responsibility agenda in the following ways:

• Henry Boot Construction - principal contractors for groundworks

• Urban Wilderness - Green barrier designs; including hard landscape and planting proposals

• RB Alfree - sub contractors for groundworks

• Arup - structural drawings

• Subscan - ground surveys

• Urban Flows Observatory - the loan of specialist air quality measurement equipment

• Ramm Sanderson - excavation around trees consultations

• Ecothrive - soil consultation and procurement

• Amey - waste removal

• Enzygo - consultation - reimagining the playground post planting

Many more businesses have gifted money and sponsored ivy fences, and their support will be celebrated during the #GoGoGreen planting parties in October 2019.

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