Skyscraper Stampede: Could Nine Elms get its elms back?

The developer St George is understood to be considering planting trees along the Nine Elms Road in an attempt to reduce wind turbulence caused by the 50-storey The Tower, One St George Wharf skyscraper now nearing completion. One possibility is planting elm trees if the developer can find a suitable Dutch Elm Disease-resistant strain.

The original ‘nine elms’ were felled not by the tree disease, but are thought to have been cut down in the 19th century to make way for the grossly-polluting Nine Elms gasworks, now also long gone. The new trees might be planted on the strip of green lining the riverside between the St George Tower and the Riverside Court apartment block, opposite the lorry entrance to New Covent garden flower market. Strong winds can blow along Nine Elms Lane as well as off the Thames, especially at low tide. One early 20th-century employee of the Nine Elms gasworks was Tom Lovelock, father of James Lovelock, the environmental scientist behind ‘Gaia’, the idea that the earth should be seen as a single, self-regulating mechanism.

A coroner has adjourned an inquest in Leeds to call in the Crown Prosecution Service to assess whether a developer and local authority officials should be charged with corporate manslaughter after a pedestrian was killed by a lorry blown into the air outside the 360ft high Bridgewater Place. When completed in 2013, the St George Tower will be 594ft, or 234 ft higher than Bridgewater Place, and is not the highest structure proposed for the skyscraper cluster propped for Vauxhall Cross.