The latest in bee conservation takes us to Leicester, where plans are in place for the city to begin its installation of 30 “living” bee bus stops.
In a UK first, the East Midlands metropolis will convert these bus shelters, planting a mix of wildflowers on their roofs that specifically target pollinating insects.
In partnership with advertising firm Clear Channel, the new programme aims to boost biodiversity and combat climate change, by providing a new source of rainwater absorption.
The so-called “bee bus stops” could also help reduce the “urban heat island” effect, which occurs when cities replace natural land cover with high concentrations of concrete.
Not to mention, they will add a creative dose of extra greenery to the city on top of decreasing trapped heat.
“This is one of many benefits of the citywide revamp of our bus shelters,” said Deputy City Mayor Councillor Adam Clarke.
“The new, modern shelters will be great for passengers. [They are] another step forward for our ambition to be a carbon neutral, biodiverse and climate-adapted city by 2030.”
Meanwhile, the council is also fitting bus stops with solar panels and smart lighting where possible, to cut energy use down further.
Work on the preliminary 30 roofs is due to conclude this summer. A full revamp of all the city’s bus stops is expected by late 2022.
“We know that true change comes when we start to roll out these types of innovation at scale,” said Clear Channel Managing Director Will Ramage.
“We’d love to see the living roofs in every town and city across the UK and Europe, having a tangible and positive effect on our planet.”
Indeed, the environmentally-friendly infrastructure has already been implemented in other European hubs, such as the Dutch city of Utrecht where 316 roofs have been transformed.
The initiative is a simple yet effective way to tackle the global decline of bee populations, but it certainly isn’t the only option.
Another initiative has begun in Germany, whereby the country is giving its urban cities a meadow makeover.
These distinctively designed wild gardens not only provide the perfect sanctuary for pollinators, but are incredibly easy to replicate.
Regardless, Leicester’s latest commitment paves the way for other UK urban centres to follow suit.
However, the city had already planted wildflowers across over 5.5 kilometres of its roadsides and roundabouts, as part of its “Bee Roads” project which began in 2017.
An aesthetically pleasing treat for locals and visitors alike, these “insect superhighways” in conjuction with the new solar-powered bee stops elevate Leicester’s position as an eco-conscious UK destination.
This, alongside the rich history – captured by the preserved 900-year-old Cathedral and immersive Castle Gardens – makes it an underrated city break well worthy of a trip.