Setting the standard for best practice in Ecology and Biodiversity at Farringdon station

Winner: CEEQUAL Outstanding Achievement Awards 2013 – Ecology & Biodiversity

A key driver for the Farringdon project was to achieve best in class performance in sustainable design and construction and as such the project team sought to achieve standards to far exceed basic requirements by targeting a CEEQUAL Excellent award

Protecting and enhancing biodiversity formed one of Thameslink Programme’s nine sustainability objectives and the Farringdon Station project achieved 100% for ecology under CEEQUAL, despite the project not having a particular impact on ecology and no ecological sensitivities being identified. This was largely due to the integration of a living roof into the stations design, a first for Thameslink Programme thus setting the standard for best practice in ecology and biodiversity across the programme.

Farringdon station’s brown roof is 700 metres squared. Its main purpose is to provide habitat for low invertebrates, which will in turn provide foraging for black redstarts.

Integrating Ecology and Biodiversity into Farringdon Station

Ecological surveys were carried out at the Farringdon Station site during 2007 and 2008. At the time of those surveys, the existing Farringdon site was described as of ‘low ecological value’ but provided potential roosting opportunities for bats and potential habitat for black redstarts.

Subsequently further detailed bat surveys were undertaken but found no evidence of bats roosting in or around Farringdon Station. Surveys carried out specifically to search for black redstarts found a single male to be holding territory in the area around Farringdon station in 2007. Both survey reports recommended the inclusion of a living roof in the design of the new station building because this would increase foraging opportunities for these species.

Despite the complexity of integrating such a feature into the redevelopment of a station the design team found a solution through incorporating the living roof into the new integrated ticket hall, thus creating new habitats in the area. The roof is 700m² and its main purpose is to provide habitat for low invertebrates, which will in turn provide foraging for black redstarts.

Although primarily designed for black redstarts, the integrated ticket hall brown roof could be used by a number of species which are subject to action plans at national and local level such as bird species, bats and a wide range of invertebrates which can reach the rooftop. The living roof also contributes 20% of the London Borough of Islington’s annual Biodiversity Action Plan target for habitat creation, and was made a condition of the planning permission for the building.

In addition to the ecological and biodiversity benefits, installing the roof also made a contribution to the project’s sustainable urban drainage (SUDS) by providing attenuation of heavy rainfall, and improved the thermal insulation performance of the building, reducing heating costs.

Although integrating sustainability into design can often be perceived as an additional cost to a projects bottom line, a cost-benefit analysis of the roof identified that installing the living roof was approximately £40,000 cheaper than a comparable zinc roof, in addition to the longer-term cost savings of improved thermal insulation, which is a truly sustainable solution.

Further information

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