Paving slabs which remove harmful pollutants from the air are to be installed in Kendal, Cumbria in a bid to help cut carbon emissions.
The paving slabs, which are coated with a mixture of spruce wood, cement, water and titanium dioxide will be laid along a 300 metre stretch of pavement on Kendal’s High Street, when other maintenance work begins in May 2012.
The manufacturers of the ‘Noxer’ slabs claim that they are able to help reduce emissions, as a chemical reaction that occurs when the blocks come into contact with daylight ‘sucks’ pollutants from the air. When exposed to ultraviolet sunlight, the slabs are able to absorb nitrogen oxide emitted by car exhausts, turning them into nitrate ions which are either washed away by rain or absorbed harmlessly into the paving.
The blocks are being installed by paving specialists Marshalls, having been previously tested in Italy, and form a part of the Kendal Regeneration Partnership’s £345,000 plans to revamp the town centre.
Head of sustainability at Marshalls, David Morrell said: “Through a research project carried out in Italy, it was found that by adding titanium dioxide to concrete a photocatalytic reaction occurs that neutralises the harmful effects of Nitrogen Oxides (NOx) and helps to clean the air.
“Nitrogen Oxides are created through the combustion of petrol and diesel in engines and are linked to respiratory problems. The benefits of this technology are now being used within landscaping products by Marshalls to help improve well being within our towns and cities.”
South Lakes district council said that it will be monitoring the impact the paving stones have on air quality, and if successful, they will consider having them placed in other areas in the town where air quality is a problem.
Joanne Golton, regeneration manager for South Lakes district council said: “As we are only piloting it at the moment it will be the same cost as to normal block paving but we are going to see what effect it has on air quality. If it works we might look at rolling it out to other badly affected areas.
“Obviously we think that the best way to improve air quality is to reduce car use and encourage cycling and other methods of transport but we’re willing to see the effect it has.”
Related links: Marshalls; South Lakeland district council