Balfour Beatty to build first highways living wall
An artist's impress of the living wall at Millbrook roundabout
Balfour Beatty Living Places is to build the UK’s first living wall on a highway, alongside green infrastructure firm Biotecture.
The project for Southampton City Council will see the construction of the hydroponic living wall start this summer on the newly completed Millbrook roundabout.
Hydroponic living walls are sustainable, vertical installations containing living plants and foliage which grow without the need for soil.
Balfour Beatty claimed it would remove air pollutants through the absorption of gases such as carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide and nitrogen dioxide, as well as hazardous particulate matter.
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.”
Project completion is expected in autumn 2019.