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 the 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 will also make a contribution to the project’s sustainable urban drainage (SUDS) by providing attenuation of heavy rainfall, and will improve 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.
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