Brixton Gets Its Own Orchard: A Cleaner Air Oasis from Spring 2017

The Brixton Business Improvement District (BID), a not for profit collective of 650 local businesses, is creating the Brixton Orchard, a new community orchard designed to make use of forgotten land and to provide greening and better quality air on one of the most polluted roads in the capital. The location of this site is a green space south of St. Matthew’s Church on Brixton Hill A23, at the end of Rush Common, directly opposite Lambeth Council’s Your New Town Hall development.

The project is funded by local businesses with match funding coming from the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Fund. Roughly 30 trees, producing a wide range of fruit, will be underplanted with pollinator-friendly flowers, with seating to encourage people to spend time in a beautiful, biodiverse area with cleaner air. Access to the Brixton Orchard will be provided via a new gateway that allows easy access across the site.

The BID is delivering this in partnership with Urban Growth Learning Gardens and Open Orchard, Lambeth-based social enterprises that work with a range of communities to improve their outdoor spaces, growing food, learning new skills and improving their wellbeing through connecting with nature in the city.

Brixton, a thriving destination during the day and night, has long had a problem with air pollution on the A23 in particular. As a result, the BID is delivering a variety of solutions to tackle this serious problem which affects residents, shoppers and visitors. This initiative is part of a wider strategy to promote Brixton as a destination and to raise awareness about sustainability in the city.

The BID, which is working closely with Lambeth Council and Urban Growth, has already invested in an audit to identify more opportunities and is working alongside local stakeholders to keep Brixton vibrant, clean and safe.

“The Brixton Orchard is one of the various initiatives we are implementing to tackle the huge issue that Brixton and the rest of London is facing with air pollution. The BID is delivering various solutions including increasing the amount of green infrastructure, running no-idling campaigns, encouraging businesses to joint procure their goods and services, and influencing the behaviour of local employees to reduce the number of local deliveries to slash traffic and congestion”.Gianluca Rizzo, Brixton BID Operations Manager

 “This orchard will be an enduring community resource for future generations to enjoy. The trees here will produce literally tonnes of free fruit, to be enjoyed by thousands of local people. It provides an opportunity for people to learn about the natural world on their doorstep, and is an example of how we can design our urban spaces to be more beautiful, biodiverse and sustainable.” –  Bruno Lacey, Urban Growth London