An urban 'tree' has been installed in Luton town centre to improve air quality by removing pollutants in the vicinity of the Market Hill device.
Luton Council says tackling air quality is a crucial component in building a town that is healthy, fair and sustainable, which is part of the council’s 2040 vision of creating a place where everyone can thrive.
The ‘tree’, which has been entirely funded by the Government’s Welcome Back Fund, uses a sustainable biotech fine dust filter with natural moss modules to extrapolate pollutants in the immediate area, improving the quality of air around the tree by 53%.
These results will be displayed on screens attached to the tree, so the public can access real-time data on how clean the air is. Another larger, 43 inch LED screen, will provide information on air quality, climate and sustainable initiatives.
As a tree for the community, Luton Council will actively promote and foster engagement with it. Schools, educational institutions, the voluntary sector and any group that is interested are encouraged to get in touch, particularly if they wish to conduct activities relating to the tree and learn more about its purpose.
Cllr Tom Shaw, portfolio holder for climate change and Chair of the Climate Advisory Board, said “We are delighted to have the tree installed and hope that people will take time to enjoy it and finding out what it’s all about. Air pollution can have a detrimental impact on our health, so tackling it through the tree contributes to us living in a fair, healthy and sustainable town.
“It doesn’t replace planting real trees but supplements them where there is little space, which is true of the town centre. Growing clean air in such areas is an important step in the action we’re taking on air quality; we know that improving air quality is crucial towards meeting the town’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2040.”
The project is part of the Welcome Back Fund, which is receiving £264,000 from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. For more information visit https://www.gov.uk/european-growth-funding and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/welcome-back-fund.
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