An innovative installation of mosses, which can help combat air pollution, has been installed in Musselburgh.

Known as the ‘CityTree’, the structure uses a combination of mosses which are cultivated to thrive in urban areas and which is claimed has the capability to remove air pollutants from the atmosphere.

CityTree has been developed by German green technology firm, Green City Solutions, who report the combination of mosses act as a sponge and can filter air pollutants including nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter from the surrounding air by up to 30%

Derek Oliver, Service Manager – Protective Services said:

“The East Lothian CityTree has been fully funded by the Scottish Government through the East Central Scotland Vehicle Emissions Partnership (comprising East Lothian, West Lothian, Falkirk and Midlothian Councils) and has been installed in the designated Air Quality Management Area of Musselburgh High Street for an initial four month pilot period. 
“It is an innovative approach to tackling air quality issues and it is anticipated to raise awareness and influence behavioural change around pollution and climate change.  We will seek public opinion following the pilot period.”

Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Norman Hampshire, said: “It is particularly appropriate that we are installing this CityTree at the start of Climate Week Scotland 2018 and it will be interesting to see what impact it will have on air pollution in Musselburgh High Street. A number of measures have been outlined in the Musselburgh Air Quality Action Plan to tackle poor air quality including introducing new technology, aiming to reduce vehicle emissions and encouraging sustainable travel options. Whether as an individual, business or school we can all play a part in taking action to improve our environment and I hope the CityTree will act as a focus for future ideas.”

The installation powers itself via solar panels, and rainwater is collected and automatically redistributed using a built-in irrigation system. This provides ideal conditions for the mosses to grow in an urban environment. East Lothian is the second local authority in Scotland to have a CityTree, following Glasgow City Council.  The CityTree technology has been installed in cities such as Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, Oslo, London and Newcastle.

Published: Monday, 1st October 2018