Fruit juice barrel "planters" used in London BID urban greening project

Recycled fruit juice barrels will be used to improve five public sites in south London as part of a business improvement district green infrastructure strategy.

Landscape consultants (uncommon) see the 60 barrels as "next generation hanging baskets" and took on the project after winning a competitive tender of architecture and design practices in Waterloo.

The scheme has been commissioned by Waterloo Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) and supported by the Mayor of London and is the first step towards increasing green infrastructure in the Waterloo and South Bank area, increasing biodiversity and addressing the impacts of climate change.

Local residents and businesses, children from Johanna Primary School and volunteers from Oasis Academy South Bank will fill the unusual planters with five tonnes of sand and hundreds of buddleia, daisy, honeysuckle and ivy plants on 4 and 5 November.

The barrels can be arranged in a variety of configurations depending on the site and can be adapted to use waste water from down-pipes on neighbouring buildings. The plants have been chosen to as resilient against heat, shade, lack of water and urban pollution compared to other species. Some of the plants are also climbers so will eventually green whole facades to achieve a green-wall effect.

Chief executive of Waterloo Quarter Helen Santer said: "The planters are small-scale but the intention is for them to eventually populate the whole area. Our ambition is to make the area greener and more bio-diverse – creating a more environmentally sustainable and pleasant place to live and work. 

"In the long term, by improving the green infrastructure in Waterloo and South Bank, we are helping to provide many social, economic and environmental benefits for local residents and businesses."

Several urban greening opportunities for the area were identified by a green infrastructure audit funded by the Mayor of London’s ‘Greening the BIDs’ programme in 2012.

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