Living roofs bring wildlife to the city

A living roof could be created on a Manchester building to provide an inner city wildlife haven and reduce the impact of climate change.

If the city council’s planners give the project the green light, work will begin early next year to cover the roof of the pavilion building in Piccadilly Gardens with plants and grasses designed to attract insects and birds.

Council bosses are encouraging living roofs as part of their goal to become Britain’s greenest city and help the city adapt to climate change, for example by providing more green spaces to absorb heavy rainfall and reduce the impact of floods.

Work is already underway on the city centre’s first living roof in Piccadilly Basin, and there are several others across Manchester.

City council leader Sir Richard Leese said: “This living roof is a highly imaginative way of bringing wildlife into the heart of Manchester.

“It will be a prominent example of our commitment to encourage biodiversity through high quality design.”

The living roof, designed by landscape architects Grant Associates, has been inspired by the structure of a feather.

Peter Chmiel, of Grant Associates, said: “The concept of a feather offered much in the way of texture and pattern and is symbolic of the current movement to rekindle Manchester’s affinity with nature.

“The roof, which will be visible from some of Manchester’s key offices, balances aesthetics with ecology and we hope that this roof will provide valuable habitat to many of the city’s indigenous species.”

The scheme is the latest phase of improvements in Piccadilly Gardens. Last year, an environmentally-friendly irrigation system was installed, which uses naturally stored water from beneath the city centre to water the grass and top up the fountains.

Kate Martin

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