Sheffield, United Kingdom
City population: 548261
Duration: 2018 – 2022
Implementation status: Ongoing
Scale: Sub-microscale: Street scale (including buildings)
Project area: 3600 m2
Type of area: Residental, Building
Last updated: October 2021

This project started as a grassroots movement by Hunter’s Bar Infant School (HBIS) in Sheffield when they were seeking to actively help to protect children from air pollution. HBIS led a fundraising campaign that, in collaboration with the University of Sheffield, provided the base to create a green barrier in their playground. The NBS is part of a bigger study called BREATHE that provides the science behind the project, which involves the design of the green barrier, the assessment of its impacts and a feasibility evaluation for installing green barriers in other schools in Sheffield and in Buenos Aires. (1)


Nature-based solution

  • Nature on buildings
  • Green walls or facades

Key challenges

  • Environmental quality
  • Air quality improvement
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Environmental education
  • Health and well-being (SDG 3)
  • Improving physical health


Creation of new green areas, Knowledge creation and awareness raising

Project objectives

1. Design and build a green barrier aimed at improving the air quality of a school playground in Sheffield, UK; 2. Assess the impacts of the green barrier in terms of playground air quality, pupils’ health, and the co-benefits/dis-benefits perceived by the school community; 3. Assess the feasibility of installing a green barrier in two schools in different contexts: Sheffield, UK and Buenos Aires, Argentina (1). Green barriers are vertical and horizontal spatial arrangements of various types of vegetation. These barriers will be installed in two schools, between the playground and the street. Currently, two schools are taking part in this project. These schools are in Sheffield and Buenos Aires. (3)

Implementation activities

Since its inception in 2017 over 50 businesses and organisations from across the city have supported the #GoGoGreen campaign, offering in-kind services, funds and partnerships essential to its delivery. A combination of fundraising led by our incredible Home School Association and supported by the whole school community, private donations and corporate sponsorship, raised the £20,000 needed for materials, services and plants. The project has also received over £54,000 of in-kind services from businesses donating their time, tools and expertise for free. In October 2019 teams of volunteers planted 50 ivy screens and over 240 plants in a series of well-attended planting parties. Daily measurements of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5) from the school playground were taken since April 2019 (2).

Main beneficiaries

  • Public sector institution (e.g. school or hospital)
  • Researchers/University
  • Citizens or community groups
  • Young people and children


Management set-up

  • Led by non-government actors

Type of initiating organisation

  • Public sector institution
  • Researchers/university

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Consultation (e.g. workshop, surveys)
  • Joint implementation (e.g. tree planting)

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The initiator of the NBS is Hunters Bar Infant School who partnered with the University of Sheffield Hunters to implement the NBS. The University provided the scientific knowledge and monitored the levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM10 and PM2.5) from the school playground. The School provided the land and helped in implementing the NBS by funding for it (50 business contributed) and putting out a call for volunteers to plant the species selected (2, 3, 4)

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? No
... a national policy or strategy? Unknown
... a local policy or strategy? Yes (It is not a local strategy per se, however, the NBS was implemented after the school found out that monthly averages of Nitrogen Dioxide levels in the playground had exceeded World Health Organisation guidelines twice in two years. The local administration supported the project not through a policy but through donating tools to measure air pollution (1,4))


Total cost

€50,000 - €100,000

Source(s) of funding

  • Corporate investment
  • Funds provided by non-governmental organization (NGO)

Type of funding

  • Donations

Non-financial contribution

Type of non-financial contribution
  • Provision of land
  • Provision of goods
  • Provision of labour
  • Provision of expertise
Who provided the non-financial contribution?
  • Citizens (e.g. volunteering)
  • Private sector (businesses, financial institution)

Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Environmental quality
  • Improved air quality
  • Green space and habitat
  • Increased green space area

Economic impacts

  • Unknown

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Health and wellbeing
  • Improved physical health
  • Improved mental health
  • Education
  • Increased support for education and scientific research
  • Increased knowledge of locals about local nature
  • Increased awareness of NBS and their benefits

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system


Presence of indicators used in reporting

No evidence in public records

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

No evidence in public records

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records