This past year the Trust has been working with Cardiff Local Nature Partnership (LNP) to improve biodiversity in polluted, urbanised areas of Cardiff using Green Walls.
Green Walls (or living walls) are vertical structures of plants, attached to a building in sections or made of climbing plants that slowly grow up the wall themselves.
The benefits of Green Walls include:
• Insulation – they can keep buildings warm in winter and cool in summer
• Improving air quality – absorbing carbon pollution and expelling oxygen
• Reducing noise pollution
• Providing habitats for birds, bats and especially insects
• Bringing people close to nature
The Cardiff Green Walls are made of climbing plants, growing up a 2m frame in a dedicated planter. The climbing plants included in the wall (e.g. ivy, dog rose and honeysuckle) were selected for their pollution absorbing properties and their flowers to provide pollinating insects with nectar.
Two sites were chosen for the pilot project; the Dusty Forge Centre and Kitchener Primary School. Both sites are adjacent to roads with high levels of pollution, and landlocked by other buildings and roads.
Though each site has their own small greenspace within their grounds - a forest school area at the primary school and a community garden space at the Dusty Forge - these are located at the back of the property away from the main road, or aren’t big enough to help reduce the air pollution problems.
The Trust has been involved in monitoring and improving the Green Walls for biodiversity.
We have also been engaging the primary school pupils and Dusty Forge community garden volunteers with this monitoring, and planting additional plants at the base of the walls to attract more pollinators.
We have also worked with Grow Cardiff’s garden volunteers at the Centre to make bug hotels for the green walls under our My Wild Cardiff project.
Immediately after installation the walls gave these sites privacy from the main roads, as well as reducing traffic noise and air pollution. Now, as we come into summer, the first flowers are starting to emerge and these Green Walls will soon be a haven for wildlife for years to come.
Megan Howells, People and Wildlife Officer WTSWW