Get us in your inbox


Artificial trees are popping up in London to suck up the city’s pollution

Written by
Allie Abgarian

If the state of the world’s climate change problems makes you want to hide under the covers, we’ve got good news: London’s toxic air is about to get a little bit cleaner. 

In April last year, London Mayor Sadiq Khan introduced the Ultra Low Emission Zone, to penalise polluting vehicles entering certain areas of the city, but pollution levels are still dangerously high, leading to lung problems and even premature death. Thankfully, there’s a new initiative to help tackle the problem.

Introducing City Trees: moss-covered installations designed to soak up the worst of the offending nitrogen dioxide (NO2), while releasing fresh oxygen. Created by Green City Solutions, each of these miniature forests offers the equivalent benefit of 275 trees in terms of pollution reduction. There’s even a cute wooden bench attached to them so that passers-by can, quite literally, catch their breath.  

A mock-up of the new City Trees model
A new City Trees model will be unveiled in Berlin this March
Photograph: Green City Solutions

The trees, which have been called the ‘world’s first biotech pollution filter’, first appeared in London during 2018 as part of a temporary trial around the West End, but they have now been permanently placed in Leytonstone by Waltham Forest Council, as part of a collaboration with clean air company Evergen. You can find them outside the tube station or at the intersection of Leytonstone High Road and Crownfield Road. 

Oaky, so this won’t single-handedly save the environment, but it could help us breathe easier in the capital, and that’s a pretty great start.

Looking for other ways to help save the planet? We explore 24 small ways that you can embrace sustainable living

Meanwhile, those who need an escape from the hustle and bustle can explore London’s most tranquil spaces

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news


      The best things in life are free.

      Get our free newsletter – it’s great.

      Loading animation
      Déjà vu! We already have this email. Try another?

      🙌 Awesome, you're subscribed!

      Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first newsletter in your inbox soon!