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New network of living roof, bee-friendly bus stops springing up in Leicester

Living Roof bus shelter on Charles Street

A NEW network of plant-topped ‘Living Roof’ bus shelters – designed to enhance biodiversity – is springing up across Leicester as part of a major programme to replace and revamp the city’s bus stops.

Leicester City Council has begun a new 10-year contract with leading out-of-home Out of Home advertising and infrastructure company Clear Channel UK to replace and manage the city’s 479 bus shelters.

As part of this new contract, Clear Channel are making a multi-million-pound investment into overhauling every bus shelter in Leicester with eco-friendly alternatives, at no cost to the city council.

Eagle-eyed Leicester residents will have spotted the first of the Living Roofs – affectionally nicknamed ‘Bee Bus Stops’ – appearing over the last few days. Each is planted with a mix of wildflowers and Sedum plants to help enhance local biodiversity, support dwindling populations of bees, butterflies, and other pollinating insects, and add some extra greenery to the city.

So far, about a dozen of the new living roof shelters have been installed at locations across the city, including Charles Street, London Road, Melton Road, Narborough Road, Uppingham Road ad Bennion Road.

Work to install and plant up all 30 living shelters is due to be complete this summer.

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

The citywide network of living roof and solar-powered shelters will be a first for any UK city. It is just one of the many steps being taken to help Leicester respond to the climate emergency but cutting the city’s carbon emissions and improving biodiversity.

Deputy City Mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “It’s great to see the first of Leicester’s new living roof bus shelters appearing across the city. 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.

“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, biodiverse and climate-adapted city by 2030. The new shelters will also be a perfect complement to our work to deliver a new, carbon neutral bus station at St Margaret’s.”

Clear Channel’s managing director Will Ramage said: “Leicester City Council has made a huge and decisive step to install environmentally-conscious bus shelters across the entire city. We know that true change comes when we start to roll out these types of innovation at scale.

“The council has shown itself as a leader in reshaping what the UK’s streets could look like in the near future. We’re really excited for people to see the new living roof bus shelters as we roll these out across Leicester in the coming weeks.”

Work to revamp and replace all the city’s bus shelters is due to be complete by late 2022. Clear Channel will be working with partners to ensure that all material from the old shelters is recycled, upcycled, or otherwise avoids landfill.

The number of existing paper poster advertising sites across the city will also be reduced as part of the new contract. Select sites at key locations will be replaced with digital advertising screens, powered by 100% renewable energy. The screens – part of Clear Channel’s national Adshel Live network – will be able to display public messaging as well as providing new advertising opportunities to local businesses.

Leicester City Council will receive an annual income generated from the bus shelter advertising revenue.

The new bee-friendly bus stops will help enhance Leicester’s ongoing 'Bee Roads' programme. Around three and a half miles of roadside and roundabouts across the city have been planted with wildflowers to help make the city a haven for pollinators by providing food stops for them to re-fuel on their way to larger parks and nature reserves.

Promoting sustainable transport and supporting local biodiversity are two key actions resulting from the first Leicester Climate Emergency Strategy. This new strategy sets out an ambitious vision, for the city needs to change to move towards becoming carbon neutral and adapting to the effects of global heating by 2030, or sooner.

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More details about work to promote biodiversity in Leicester is available on the city council’s website here


Pictured: One of Leicester’s first Living Roof shelters on Charles Street