A ‘world first’ scheme will see six lamp posts in Belgravia fitted with vegetation panels to promote biodiversity and improve air quality.
The Smart Pillar, which has been developed by The Scotscape Group and Greenwich University, will initially be put on lamp posts on the property firm Grosvenor’s estate.
The panels can be easily installed to existing lamp posts and require minimum maintenance. They also recirculate water and have solar panels to power its irrigation system.
In addition to direct environmental benefits, there is evidence that incorporating and enhancing greening in the built environment can reduce stress, blood pressure and heart rates, whilst increasing rates of improved well-being.
The environmental impact of the lamp posts will be monitored through a recently installed air quality monitor on Ebury Street through Grosvenor’s participation in the London Air Quality Network, run by Kings College London.
Grosvenor has committed to creating a significant net biodiversity gain in its portfolio by 2030 and in the last five years has invested in over 240 biodiversity features on its London estate including green roofs, bee hives, parklets, habitat hotels, bat and bird boxes.
Andrew Maskell, landscape management, Grosvenor Britain & Ireland, said: ‘Creating new green space in intensely used urban areas requires imagination and determination. We know that green interventions can have a tremendously positive impact on our environment and also our well-being and we are excited to see the results of this unique pilot.
‘With 14,000 lamp posts in Westminster alone, the potential of the green lamp posts to improve the health and well-being of Londoners could be significant and lead to the development of green lamp posts as standard street furniture.’
Angus Cunningham, managing director of Scotscape, added: ‘In the 35 years since I started Scotscape and with global warming, pollution and urbanisation achieving regular headline space, an exciting marketplace is appearing where we really can make a difference.’
In related news, 1076 new residential EV charging points have been installed on lamp posts across London as part of the Go Ultra Low City Scheme (GULCS), a joint initiative between Transport for London (TfL), the Greater London Authority (GLA) and London Councils.
Using existing lamppost columns is seen as a more efficient way of increasing the coverage of charging points across the capital, as the installation is quicker than installing a new, standalone point.