A Million Cubic Metres of Air Cleaned by Putney's City Tree

Encouraging initial results for High Street air purification system

The City Tree in Putney town centre
The City Tree in Putney town centre


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The City Tree on Putney High Street is being hailed as a success following the publication of the initial report on its effectiveness.

The innovative air purification system filters particulate matter and fine dust out of the surrounding air, while simultaneously purifying and cooling the air. Every hour it filters the volume of air breathed by up to 7,000 people.

It was installed by the council at the turn of the year as part of its ongoing campaign to improve local air quality.

In its first ten weeks of operation, the pioneering device purified 1.3 million cubic metres of air. This volume of air is equivalent to:

• 519 Olympic sized swimming pools
• 324 hot air balloons
• 5,400 smoked cigarettes

The system works by using fans to draw in polluted, warm air, which flows through eight large panels of living moss. Moss has lots of fine hairs, resulting in a large surface area which is able to trap fine particles.

The process not only removes these particles but also purifies and cools the air which is then recirculated back into the atmosphere at ground level giving people cleaner and purer air to breathe minus hazardous particulates.

It is the result of five years of research and development by German company Green City Solutions and is the latest in a series of environmental improvements in Putney High Street.

Wandsworth’s cabinet member for strategic planning and transport Cllr John Locker said, “This first set of results is hugely encouraging. In ten weeks it has filtered and cleaned enough air to fill more than 320 hot air balloons - and will go on working 24 hours a day, seven days a week cleaning and purifying the air in Putney High Street.”

And the borough’s cabinet member for finance, corporate resources and climate sustainability Cllr Rory O’Broin added, “This cutting-edge technology is delivering real benefits to people living, working and visiting Putney High Street. We know that more work needs to be done to improve air quality in the high street and are committed to meeting this challenge head on.”

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May 14, 2021

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