Portsmouth bus stops will become 'living roofs' with grass and plants

BUS stops across Portsmouth could soon be given 'living roofs' under new plans being pursued by the city council and advertising giant Clear Channel.
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The two organisations are negotiating over changes to the existing 25-year contract to manage and maintain shelters which could see 15 given planted roofs this year in a bid to reduce air pollution.

Should it go ahead, the project will see planters installed on the roof of bus stops, helping to create 'wildlife corridors' through the city.

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'This is something I've wanted to do for a long time, particularly along our main roads where there are problems,' city council cabinet member for transport Lynne Stagg said. 'Hopefully we can expand this work to cover all of our bus stops over the next few years.'

An example of a 'living roof' Picture: Clear ChannelAn example of a 'living roof' Picture: Clear Channel
An example of a 'living roof' Picture: Clear Channel
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The contract with Clear Channel, which also sees it give a share of its advertising revenue to the council, requires the firm responsible to replace five shelters each year.

Last month Cllr Stagg criticised the company for putting the city on an eight-month waiting list for consideration of the five this year being given planted roofs.

But efforts have been ramped up in recent weeks with council officers and Clear Channel now drawing up plans to begin a widespread roll-out across the city.

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Surveys have been carried out on 20 shelters to assess whether they can hold the weight of a planted roof with about three-quarters being deemed suitable.

'I'm hopeful that we will get those done by March,' Cllr Stagg added. 'It will be brilliant for the city and it's great that this is now moving forward.'

She said she was particularly keen that busier roads, such as London Road and Copnor Road were prioritised as part of the project.

Last year, Clear Channel announced plans to install living roofs on the almost 500 bus stops under a similar contract with Leicester City Council in a project described as a UK first.

It will see bus stops given roofs planted with a mix of wildflowers and sedum plants to boost biodiversity and support pollinating insects.

'We know that true change comes when we start to roll out these types of innovation at scale,' Clear Channel managing director Will Ramage said of the scheme.

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A company spokesman said it hoped to begin work in Portsmouth soon.

'We’ve had fantastic feedback about our living roofs helping to bring nature back into towns and cities,' they said. 'We really want to see them far and wide across the UK, and we’re excited about the prospect of installing them in Portsmouth in the very near future.'