Friday, June 21, 2024

How to meet biodiversity targets with green infrastructure | Local Government Chronicle (LGC)

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Out of home media and infrastructure company Clear Channel UK explains how councils can use their bus shelter network to help nature and bring communities together. Sponsored comment from Clear Channel UK.

For councils across the country, attracting people back to town and city centres is a priority. To do so, council leaders are exploring innovative regeneration projects that prioritise new buildings and infrastructure while working within new legal frameworks and regulations.

As part of its 25-year environment plan the UK government is committed to protecting 30% of our land and sea for nature through the Nature Recovery Network by 2030, and restoring or creating more than 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitats outside protected sites by 2042. Nearly one in six species in Great Britain  are threatened with extinction and we’ve lost over half of our flowering plants since 1970.

Clear Channel’s Living Roofs

For councils looking to invest in their communities, partnering with suppliers who prioritise responsible solutions is essential. Clear Channel, a leading out of home media and infrastructure company, is leading the way with its pioneering Living Roofs product.

Launched in 2021 by Clear Channel and supported by Wallbarn, a leading provider of green roof systems, Living Roofs were specifically designed with pollinators in mind. These ‘bee bus stops’ are recognised by The Wildlife Trusts and are the only shelters with an ecological assessment, recognised as ‘high strategic significance’ for biodiversity, particularly in otherwise sterile urban environments.

These thoughtfully designed shelters feature a mix of native wildflowers and sedum species. Beyond aesthetics, Living Roofs offer a range of environmental benefits. They contribute to climate change resilience by helping to slow down rainwater run-off and cooling cities through natural transpiration. They also capture air particulates, improving air quality.

Maria Hendrick, senior business engagement manager for The Wildlife Trusts, says: “With global temperatures rising and the recent State of Nature report showing no let-up in wildlife’s decline, creative solutions to tackle the nature and climate crisis are greatly needed.

“That’s why we’re delighted to work with Clear Channel to deliver innovative urban infrastructure to provide much-needed stepping stones for wildlife living and travelling through our urban jungles. They’re also a great talking point – inspiring communities to think about the wildlife all around them, and about the small actions they can take to help bring about nature’s recovery.”

The partnership with The Wildlife Trusts will support Clear Channel in its mission to make the UK’s urban areas more welcoming to insects and wildlife – as well as humans – and encourage councils to make more environmentally conscious choices.

Case study: Derby City Council

In 2022, Derby City Council partnered with Clear Channel to manage and maintain its bus shelter network. This decision aligns with its wider regeneration project to revitalise the city centre and encourage more active travel.

“This project is a testament to the power of partnership to address the climate emergency”

Carmel Swan

Carmel Swan (Lab), cabinet member for climate change, transport and sustainability, says: “Improving biodiversity is a key part of our work to achieve a net zero Derby by 2035 and these bus shelters are a fantastic example of combining urban living with nature and community.

“We’re proud Derby will be home to the UK’s largest network of Living Roof bus shelters, and this project is a testament to the power of partnership between private, public and voluntary sectors to address the climate emergency.”

As part of this project, the council is committed to creating ‘blue and green corridors’ to connect open spaces and promote sustainability. Clear Channel’s Living Roofs will play a crucial role in this network. Derby will be home to the UK’s first full network of Living Roofs, with 43 shelters installed across the city.

Derby City Council and Clear Channel will dedicate a portion of advertising space to local businesses, further boosting the high street and local economy. The Living Roof network will be maintained by Clear Channel’s dedicated team, encouraging both wildlife and residents to return to the city centre.

Benefits and the bigger picture

Living Roofs offer a multitude of benefits. They increase biodiversity, improve air and water quality, and create more attractive city centres. They also support local businesses and communities. While individual shelters contribute a small amount to biodiversity net gain, their collective impact provides crucial stepping stones for wildlife movement.

Clear Channel’s Platform for Good initiative focuses on using social infrastructure to benefit communities. With a 57-year history of partnering with local authorities, Clear Channel manages 20,000 shelters on behalf of 180 councils across the UK, ensuring they are clean, well-lit and maintained.

For more information, click here.

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