‘High-rise homes for wildlife’ project launched

Living roofs are seen as a vital step towards reversing the decline of urban wildlife caused by the ongoing loss of habitats such as brownfield land and gardens. Species that are likely to benefit include the endangered Brown-banded carder bee and the Black redstart.

The three-year project is funded through SITA Trust’s Enriching Nature Programme and will install living roofs on buildings including the Transport for London headquarters in St James Park, Ford Motor Company at Dagenham, the University of East London (Stratford) and Lewisham Town Hall.

Each roof will include wildflower meadows, sandy areas and shingle to recreate the habitats commonly used by the species. The living roofs are being specially designed by wildlife charity Buglife and leading green roof experts LivingRoofs.

Professor Greer, a passionate wildlife enthusiast and President of Buglife, launched the project at Ecobuild.

"Living roofs are one way we can all do something to help so many of the creatures we love that are disappearing because of loss of habitat, those bumble bees, butterflies and even birds that we are all afraid of losing," she said.

"Every building has a roof, and this project shows how every roof could be doing its bit for the environment."

Buglife’s Conservation Projects Manager Jamie Roberts said he believed living roofs could provide a more sustainable future for our towns and cities.

"We want this project to inspire those involved in planning and designing new urban development. If even a proportion of the flat roofs in our towns and cities could be greened, this could make a huge contribution to reversing the decline of urban wildlife."

Dusty Gedge, director of LivingRoofs, said: "It’s hard to imagine a sustainable or indeed bearable future in our cities without living roofs. They will be vital in helping to offset the impacts of climate change, through reducing energy use and preventing flooding."

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