London gets world’s first green lamp posts

STREET LIGHTING columns in a London street have been transformed into living green posts to promote biodiversity, purify the air and provide attractive focal points.

Dubbed the Smart Pillar, the unit has been developed by The Scotscape Group and Greenwich University. It can be installed on existing lamp posts without damaging them, and recirculates water, reducing waste. 

The pilot scheme – which comprises six lamp posts in Ebury Street, Belgravia – is believed to be the world’s first scheme using street lighting.

The lamp posts have been retro-fitted with columns incorporating a range of vegetation in an example of what’s termed ‘vertical greening’.

Dubbed the Smart Pillar, the unit has been developed by The Scotscape Group and Greenwich University.

It can be easily installed to existing lamp posts without damaging them, and recirculates water, reducing waste. A high water retention fabric is used to maximise water use.

It also features a self-powered irrigation system, which uses solar panels embedded in the design.

Grosvenor Estates, which manages the area, says that in addition to direct environmental benefits, ‘there is mounting evidence that incorporating and enhancing greening in the built environment can reduce stress, blood pressure and heart rates, whilst increasing self-reported rates of mental health and well-being’.

The environmental impact of the lamp posts will be monitored through a 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, told Lux: ‘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.'

  • Learn more about exterior  lighting at The Illuminated City conference at the LuxLive 2019 exhibition, taking place at ExCeL London on Wednesday 13 November and Thursday 14 November 2019. Entry is free - view the full programme and register free HERE.

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