Unique ‘living green wall’ installed at Liverpool’s St Johns Shopping Centre

Liverpool has just become cleaner and greener thanks to the installation of a ‘living green
wall’ on the exterior of St Johns Shopping Centre.

Spanning 65 metres in length, the living green wall is one of the longest in the UK and has
been installed as part of a project which seeks to increase green space in urban areas,
improve air quality and support health and wellbeing.

The project is being led by The Mersey Forest and is funded through the EU Horizon 2020
project Urban GreenUP. The installation, filled with over 14,000 evergreen plants,
encourages bees and other pollinators, whilst making the city centre greener and more
environmentally sustainable.


The innovative installation is visible from pedestrianised areas around it and from Queens
Square Bus Station. St Johns is one of a handful of shopping centres in the UK to bring such
benefits to the local community through their green space initiative. The living green wall is
the latest in a series of green projects that St Johns has undertaken. Over the Summer the
centre is planning to install beehives on its roof to create ‘bee-lanes’ which will provide a
shelter for bees and other pollinators in the city centre.

The Urban GreenUP project has been awarded nearly £3.5m of European funding to tackle
environmental issues through nature-based solutions, with St Johns being one of many
projects in the city centre.


Commenting on the installation of the living green wall, Neil Ashcroft, Centre Manager at St
Johns, said:

“We are thrilled to launch our living green wall today. Through months of hard work, and with
the challenge of safely undertaking work during the COVID-19 pandemic, we have delivered
an important initiative that not only enhances the shopper experience, but also benefits the
local community. Green spaces in many city centres are few and far between and we
understand as a community shopping centre our role is to help improve the built environment
and to bring wider benefits to the community by improving air quality, biodiversity and health
and wellbeing across the city.”


Clare Olver from The Mersey Forest welcomed the addition to the city:
“The living green wall will be good for attracting pollinators – so increasing biodiversity, as
well as adapting to climate change and for business. There are 17 species of plants in the
living green wall which Biotecture has designed in co-ordination with the Bumblebee
Conservation Trust. We are looking forward to seeing how this, together with the new roof
garden at Royal Court Theatre, can provide benefit both for wildlife and people right in the
heart of our city.”


Councillor Laura Robertson-Collins, Liverpool City Council’s Cabinet Member for
Environment and Sustainability, said:

“I’m delighted to see the progress with this installation which is one element in a series of
different interventions and projects across Liverpool to help discover how cities can best
‘green’ themselves.”

“As well as this living green wall in the city centre, we are working to reveal natural water
features in Otterspool Park to improve bio-diversity there, placing living floating islands on
Sefton Park lake to provide natural cleansing of the water, and planting trees with
sustainable drainage on the Strand, amongst many other experimental projects.”


Bill Addy, chief executive of Liverpool BID Company, said:
“This installation makes our city centre greener and more environmentally sustainable. It is
important for us to improve the experience for everyone who visits our city centre and we’ll
look forward to welcoming all to see it in the weeks ahead. We are really proud to see the
outcome of a project we started back in 2016 when we commissioned a city centre green
audit that turned into a £3.5m European project to which, the green wall on St Johns is one
of the main highlights in the city centre.”


The five-year Urban GreenUP project is working with local stakeholders including Liverpool
City Council, Mersey Forest with the support of Community Forest Trust, Liverpool BID
Company, and the University of Liverpool, as well as organisations in Valladolid (Spain) and
Izmir (Turkey) and five other cities across the world.