Byline: TONY HENDERSON
SCIENTISTS are breaking new ground by cultivating garden plots on a building site.
The project is based at Newcastle's Science Central - the site of the former Scottish & Newcastle Breweries.
The aim of the Newcastle University venture is to trial various mixes of demolition waste, compost and seed mixes to see which combination captures most carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
It could lead to turning brownfield sites across urban areas into "carbon gardens" which are also attractive flowering areas that enhance biodiversity and offer educational and leisure opportunities for people.
The Science Central garden is divided into 24 plots, which are being given different treatments to discover the best ways to maximise the carbon capture and storage in soils on sites typically high in mineral waste such as concrete or slag from metal production.
Professor David Manning said: "Using plants to absorb atmospheric carbon isn't exactly a new concept, but what we have tried to do is maximise that potential on land that is traditionally seen as a burden rather than a resource."
The project leader, from the university's school of civil engineering and geosciences, added: "Our study showed that, when engineered in the right way, urban soils are able to capture twice the amount of CO2 as that which is absorbed by agricultural soils. …