A council has installed an urban air cleaning system which it claims has the pollution-reduction benefits of 275 trees.

Waltham Forest Council, in partnerships with clean technology company Evergen, has installed two of the systems, known as City Trees, in Leytonstone – making it the first London borough to do so.

The City Trees are self-sustaining structures containing variants of moss, a water tank, automatic irrigation and plant sensors powered by solar panels to produce oxygen.

The different types of moss inside the structures bind environmental toxins such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, removing them from the surrounding air.

Sensors track the air filtering performance and environmental data of the CityTree’s surroundings.

Cllr Clyde Loakes, the council’s deputy leader and cabinet member for environment said: “The City Trees are cutting-edge technology with biotech filters, using living plants and different types of mosses to capture toxins and remove pollutants from the surrounding environment to produce clean air. It’s the equivalent of planting 275 trees.

“The two City Trees at Leytonstone tube station and another on Leytonstone High Road are permanent additions to the borough and London in our fight against poor air quality. I am delighted that Waltham Forest is again leading the way in improving air quality and tackling climate change in London.”

The Leytonstone tube station site is at a bus station and sits on top of the A12 where there are the highest levels of nitrogen dioxide in the borough.

The Leytonstone High Road site is at the junction of two heavily trafficked roads.

The council declared a climate emergency in April 2019 and committed to launching a Climate Emergency Commission – the first in London – to help shape its response to this global challenge and to produce a set of policy ‘asks’ for regional and national politicians.