There was a site visit in Bearwood this week looking for potential sites for a trial involving the installation of planting which could assist to reduce pollution levels caused by traffic on Bearwood Road. The visit involved Councillor Bob Piper, council officers, Richard Marshall and Alistair White from Hederascreens, the company looking to trial the concept of living walls and screens.
The area coming up from Smethwick towards Bearwood has a specific problem with vehicles backing up to the traffic lights and leaving their engines idling. This is particularly bad when you consider the proximity to Bearwood School playground. We met with Deb Haywood, the head teacher, and with the school site manager, and we are considering some two-metre high green 'screens' being planted up around the perimeter fencing to the playground. Deb was very enthusiastic because the issue of children playing in a playground just feet from a main road has long been one of her bugbears. Hederascreens have had a lot of experience in using these screens in densely trafficked areas in London, with some considerable success. As there isn't currently a pollution monitor in that area the trial will also involve the hire of some equipment for the duration.
The second area we are considering is in the main shopping area and that could involve the possible installation of a full living wall, but this needs to be costed and the practicalities worked out. As we will need to obtain permission from the shops and the buildings concerned, at this stage we're not in a position yet to say where that may be located.
In conjunction with this the Council are planning to add some more greenery to the shopping centre by putting some trees along Bearwood Road itself and we should have details of that shortly.