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Leicester introduces ecological bus shelters to help tackle climate change

Leicester City Council claims the citywide network of living roof and solar-powered shelters will be a first for any UK city and are planted with favourites among pollinating insects.

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One of Leicester's citywide network of Bee Bus Stops with a living roofs
One of Leicester's citywide network of Bee Bus Stops with a living roofs

The UK city of Leicester has begun work to install and plant 30 living roof bus shelters as part of a major programme to replace and revamp the city’s bus shelters.

 

Dubbed “Bee Bus Stops”, Leicester City Council claims the citywide network of living roof and solar-powered shelters will be a first for any UK city and are planted with a mix of wildflowers and Sedum plants, a favourite among pollinating insects.

 

Climate resilience

 

According to the city council, the shelters from Clear Channel will positively contribute towards biodiversity and climate resilience, absorb rainwater falling on the roof, and help to reduce the “urban heat island” effect by capturing harmful particulates from the air.

 

Clear Channel reports its living roof product has been designed in accordance with the Green Roof Organisation’s GRO Green Roof Code, an industry code of best practice, written in collaboration with living roof experts.

 

When the work is completed this summer, six of the living roofs will be congregated on Humberstone Gate, several sited along the length of Charles Street, with the remainder located on major roads across the city centre.

“The new, modern shelters will be great for passengers and the mix of solar power and living roofs is another step forward for our ambition to be a carbon neutral and climate-adapted city by 2030”

Where feasible, Leicester City Council reports all other bus shelters will be fitted with solar panels, powering smart lighting to manage energy use. The self-contained solar technology will make installation of the new shelters quicker and reduce disruption for bus users.

 

“We’ve already had some fantastic feedback from people who are as excited as we are to see this bee and butterfly friendly revamp of bus shelters taking shape,” said councillor Adam Clarke, deputy city mayor of Leicester, who leads on environment and transportation.

 

“But this is just one of many benefits of the citywide revamp of our bus shelters. The new, modern shelters will be great for passengers and the mix of solar power and living roofs is another step forward for our ambition to be a carbon neutral and climate-adapted city by 2030.”

 

Eco-friendly alternatives

 

Installation of the living roofs come as part of a new 10-year contract between Leicester City Council and out-of-home advertising and infrastructure company Clear Channel UK. As part of this new contract, Clear Channel is making a multi-million-pound investment into overhauling all 479 bus shelters in Leicester with eco-friendly alternatives, at no cost to the city council.

 

Work to revamp and replace all Leicester’s bus shelters is due to be complete by late 2022. Clear Channel said it will be working with partners to ensure that all material from the old shelters is recycled, upcycled, or other measures deployed to avoid it going to landfill.

 

In Utrecht, in the Netherlands, Bee Bus Stops have already been installed, playing a key part in supporting the national “Bed & Breakfast for Bees” pollinator strategy. The press statement notes that “concerted efforts” to look after bees by the Dutch government has “paid off”, with the 2021 National Bee Census recording that numbers remain steady in Dutch cities.

 

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