Could ‘living walls’ work for Bearwood?

Sandwell Council is investigating the potential for using the concept of 'living walls' to help relieve the pollution issues around Bearwood Road.

Councillor Bob Piper said, “I have been meeting with council officers and public health officials about exploring innovative ways of trying to deal with the problem of pollution. With slow moving traffic, and many decrepit buses – both of which also need to be tackled – Bearwood Road is one of the most polluted roads in the borough.

“It is acknowledged that greenery can help to reduce the pollution levels and we are looking at ways to introduce the concept of living walls and trees to Bearwood. A number of cities around the country have experimented with the idea, and we are now in discussion with some companies to trial the idea here. The walls not only help with the problem, they can also look pretty good too! If you imagine areas such as the Aldi/Argos building there is possibly some scope there, and some of the stark brick gable ends could also be used.”

“One plan could also include some greenery in 'living barriers' at kerbside. There are already some rather ugly metal barriers, and as long as any safety issues can be overcome, it may be possible to do something imaginative to replace these. Some near Bearwood Road school could not only reduce pollution levels near the children's playground, they could have a bonus impact by preventing inconsiderate parents pulling up on the pavement to drop their children off!”

Council leaders are also considering the potential for tree planting on Bearwood Road too. Councillor Piper added, “We have identified some possible sites where smallish trees could be planted, and those plans are currently being evaluated. Again, I think they could really brighten up Bearwood Road, and some decorative lights around Christmas would enhance the existing limited decorations.”

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12 Responses to Could ‘living walls’ work for Bearwood?

  1. Elaine Hook says:

    What a wonderful idea, this could look lovely and serve a very good purpose too. I think it could only enhance Bearwood.

  2. A Jinks says:

    Well I’m not thrilled with the way the big flower tubs have turned out. Just huge receptacles for fag-ends. Whatever is decided upon, the thing must be maintained.

    • Bob says:

      I think the living walls are low maintenance anyway. There are a couple in Birmingham, one by Snow Hill and another by New Street, although they both have the benefit of being new build. As for the planters, they were never going to look spectacular in Winter, but we are promised poppies this year to commemorate the anniversary of the 1st World War.

  3. I think its a brilliant idea. Anything to enhance the look of Bearwood. I think you will find once people feel that an interest is been taken in their area they themselves tend to take a pride in the appearance. It has a knock on affect

  4. Sarah says:

    That would be great. I hope it can happen.

  5. Andy Wayro says:

    Although this is a wonderful idea they are not as low cost and low maintenance as many people think. Having been involved with a number of green walls in Birmingham, including New Street Station and Snow Hill I would be happy to discuss the pros and cons with Sandwell and Bearwood if it will help. As a landscape architect and urban designer living in Bearwood I think it is important to stress that the value delivered from street trees and other low cost public realm enhancements can deliver much great all round benefits for less money. Which as we all know is in short supply at the moment.

    • Bob says:

      Andy, when we have had the site visits and the various suggestions, I’ll get in touch, it sounds like your experience could be valuable. We are, as I said, also planning to plant a number of trees too.

  6. diane says:

    I think it is a fabulous idea. Can we have smaller trees planted in the residential roads also.

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