Balfour Beatty Living Places and green infrastructure experts, Biotecture, are set to deliver a UK first on behalf of Southampton City Council, as works to install the first hydroponic living wall on a highways scheme commenced this summer.

Hydroponic living walls are sustainable, vertical installations containing living plants and foliage which grow without the need for soil. Offering many benefits to the public and the environment, these green and living structures help to remove air pollutants through the absorption of gases such as Carbon Dioxide, Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide, as well as hazardous particulate matter.

Forming part of the newly reconstructed Millbrook Roundabout that Balfour Beatty Living Places successfully completed ahead of schedule earlier this year, the company will now install the foundations and six-metre-high steel frame, while Biotecture will design and position the hydroponic living wall.

Balfour Beatty Living Places Managing Director, Steve Helliwell, said: “We are incredibly proud to be working with Southampton City Council and Biotecture on this flagship project – a first in the UK. This is a project which has the potential to transform the way we sustainably deliver highways schemes across the industry.

“Sustainability is at the heart of what we do and in the solutions we provide to our customers. Through this project, we will not only improve air quality for local residents but improve the aesthetic of the roundabout for the travelling public and the wider community in Southampton.”

Richard Sabin, Managing Director of Biotecture, said: “Yet to be seen on the UK road network, the Millbrook green columns are evocative of the Via Verde highway pillars in Mexico City, and they’ll help with air pollution reduction. We are very excited to be working on this flagship scheme in Southampton.”

Cllr Jacqui Rayment, Cabinet Member for Transport & Public Realm, commented: “We have committed to making Southampton a clean, green, sustainable and successful city through our Green City Charter. The Living Wall project at Millbrook Roundabout is the first of its kind in the UK. It’s an exciting way to make our public spaces more attractive whilst at the same time having a beneficial effect on the environment. Investing in greening projects like this will play an important part in safeguarding our local environment for future generations.”

Works commenced this summer with project completion expected in autumn 2019.

Image: An artist impression of the living wall at Millbrook Roundabout

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