"Green space in city centres plays an important role in improving physical and mental health, as well as improving air quality."
An innovative giant living wall, part of a global effort to increase green space in city centres, has been approved by Liverpool City Council.
The installation, one of the largest outside of London, will stretch across the outside of the upper floor of St Johns Shopping Centre, visible from the pedestrianised areas around it and from Queens Square Bus Station.
The 50m long green wall is funded through the EU Horizon 2020 project “Urban GreenUP” and is one of several green projects that are set to get underway in the city, which recently declared a Climate Emergency, over the next six months.
Liverpool’s Urban GreenUP programme has been awarded nearly £3.5million of European funding to tackle issues such as biodiversity, flooding, climate change, air quality and health and wellbeing through 'nature-based solutions'.
Partners in the five-year project include Liverpool City Council, The Mersey Forest, Liverpool BID Company and the University of Liverpool, as well as organisations in Valladolid (Spain) and Izmir (Turkey), and five more cities across the world.
Centre Manager, Neil Ashcroft, said: “At St Johns Shopping Centre we are always seeking ways to bring wider benefits to the communities we serve. Green space in city centres plays an important role in improving physical and mental health, as well as improving air quality. With a clear aspiration to install a living wall at the Centre, we did our research and partnered with the Mersey Forest team to make it happen. We have worked hard with landlords, tenants and partners to drive this ground-breaking project forward and it is great to see this important milestone reached.”
Clare Olver from the Mersey Forest Team welcomed the approval. “This approval means we are on track to have what will be the city’s largest green wall installed by Christmas. The green wall will be good for air quality, biodiversity, adapting to climate change and for business. There is good evidence that greener areas attract more footfall and that people tend to spend more time shopping in greener areas.”
Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, said: “The introduction of the green wall at St Johns Shopping Centre is great news for the city, with this installation making our city centre greener and more environmentally sustainable, while improving the experience for locals, tourists and BID levy paying businesses.”
Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, Liverpool city council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Sustainability, said: “Liverpool city centre needs more green space but due to its compact, condensed make up we need to think differently in how we achieve that and this living wall is a brilliant example. It will not only improve air quality and bio-diversity in the heart of the city centre but it will put a smile on people’s faces. This living wall will be a great Christmas present to the city and like all the best presents its benefits will be long lasting.”