TREES are to be planted alongside Wilton Road in Salisbury in an attempt to improve air quality.

Studies suggest that beeches may be the most effective at reducing what is known as particulate matter in the environment alongside busy roads.

If it works, councillors have suggested people could sponsor trees in memory of their loved ones for further planting projects.

At the city centre end of Wilton Road levels of particulate matter are 50 per cent higher than guidelines recommend.

“That doesn’t mean we’ve got a huge health risk,” explained Cllr Richard Clewer, who chairs the city’s air quality action group, which has £5,000 to spend.

“We have a very minor air quality problem compared with larger places, and we are seeing what we can do about it in a small way.

“We want a site as close to the St Paul’s roundabout as possible.

“And we want to install a sensor to monitor the effect of the beeches.

“If we can prove that a small, initial project has an effect, we can seek funding to do more.”