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  1. ITV Report

Newcastle gets country's first pollution busting 'moss tree'

The country's first pollution busting 'moss tree' has been installed on a busy road in Newcastle city centre.

The futuristic looking structure, which is rectangular and covered in foliage, is said to have the ability to filter pollutants and is equivalent to having almost 300 trees at the roadside.

Northumbrian Water Group (NWG), who are behind the initiative, claim the 'moss tree' naturally absorbs toxins making it the 'ideal air purifier'.

Built-in sensors also gather information on pollution, including Nitrogen Oxide, Nitrogen Dioxide and Carbon Dioxide, and monitor air humidity, temperature and rainfall.

Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Nigel Watson, NWG's Director of Information Services, said: "The Newcastle moss tree is a fantastic opportunity to explore a truly innovative way of tackling pollution and sharing the findings with people who can take the concept and expand upon the value it brings to the environment.

"As part of the NWG Innovation Festival in 2017, we decided to look at how businesses can improve the environment, but we didn't really know where that question would take us, in terms of ideas and the impact they can have.

"To now have the result of one of those ideas in such a prominent position, where it can reduce pollution and gather real-world data, is brilliant.

"This is a first for England and Wales and we are very proud to be at the forefront of something so exciting."

Cllr Arlene Ainsley, cabinet member for transport and air quality at Newcastle City Council, added: "It's wonderful that we will have England's first moss tree here in Newcastle and I look forward to seeing how the information it will provide can be used to inform ways in which we can improve air quality.

"In Newcastle, as in many cities, poor air quality is having a significant impact on our health, wellbeing and quality of life. We have to tackle this."

NWG says it has been working on the plans since July 2017 and reached an agreement with Newcastle City Council to site the tree at the Haymarket, close to the city's bus interchange and busy main roads.