Two large artificial “trees” have been installed outside Leytonstone tube station and on the High Road to help improve air quality in the area. Looking less like trees than what they are, a large moss filled tower with seating, they compress the cleaning power of 275 trees into one park bench sized space.

While planting trees both cleans the air and absorbs CO2, the advantage of these moss towers is that they can deliver a concentrated burst of cleaning in a very small space. It would be difficult to plant 550 trees in this small patch of Leytonstone to deliver the same impact.

Unlike trees, they also work in the winter months.

This isn’t the first City Tree for London, as there was a short trial of them in the West End back in mid 2018, although it was just for a few months. These new City Trees in Leyton are intended to be permanent.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, Waltham Forest Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment said: “The two City Trees at Leytonstone tube station and another on Leytonstone High Road are permanent additions to the borough and London in our fight against poor air quality.”

The locations of the City Trees experience significant air pollution. The Leytonstone Station site is at a bus station and sits on top of the A12 where there are the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide in the borough. The Thatched House site is at the junction of two heavily trafficked roads – Leytonstone High Road / Leytonstone Road and Cann Hall Road / Crownfield Road.

The City Tree is a self-sustaining structure that contains a water tank, with automatic irrigation and plant sensors all powered by on board solar panels and batteries. The different types of moss bind environmental toxins such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides while at the same time producing oxygen.

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