A National Park City Champion, Abundance London and the Chiswick Oasis are proposing the creation of The Great West Hedge to mark the launch on 22nd July of London National Park City – a protective and attractive hedge along both sides of the A4, the Great West Road, to provide protection against motor vehicle pollution for pedestrians, cyclists, residents and schoolchildren.
Every day more evidence is published that shows the dangers of air pollution to our health, especially for children and the elderly. Increasingly evidence is growing that proves a protective barrier of greenery can help filter and screen out the worst of these pollutants.
Between Chiswick and Hammersmith – part of the area left out of the brand new ULEZ (Ultra Low Emission Zone) – are eight schools, five nurseries and six playgrounds/parks within a few metres of the A4. These are amongst the most polluted in London.
Steve Pocock, a Chiswick-based National Park City Champion, along with Abundance London and Chiswick Oasis – groups headed up by local residents who have created effective organisations, are asking Transport for London to support their plea to create a protective screen of living greenery, behind which the schools can breathe, pedestrians can walk, people can cycle, residents can live safely. As the planting thickens out and more people drive electric, the hedges can harbour biodiversity and will provide more protection against noise, dust and pollution. Other advantages include sustainable drainage (SuDS) and carbon capture.
Picture above: How the hedge could look for drivers, fitting with existing trees. Pictures below: how the hedge could look for pedestrians; how the hedge could look, protecting St Mary’s School and the William Hogarth School
The hedge is proposed as a Living Laboratory, trialling different approaches and measuring the impact providing an experiment in green infrastructure that could be repeated throughout the country. The team offers to partner with TfL for citizen science and any other assistance. They have the whole-hearted support of neighbouring schools, nurseries, residents’ associations, amenity groups and businesses along this stretch of the A4.
The Great West Hedge team propose that the Mayor, the Greater London Assembly and Transport for London support this project as a fitting launch this July for the London National Park City. The hedge should be installed in the winter of 2019/20.
A spokesperson for the National Park City Foundation said: “The National Park City Foundation supports the vision of the Great West Hedge as a great example of action to make London wilder, greener and healthier and an inspiring way to mark London becoming the world’s first National Park City. The hedge will improve air quality for the community including schools, make the area greener and support wildlife. It will be a living demonstration of how greening our city can improve life in London.”
For more information on exact location, type of planting, research into air pollution, evidence on effectiveness of hedges and green infrastructure, supporters of the project, members of the group, please see the website at www.greatwesthedge.org