The replacement of air handling equipment on a roof at 1-19 Torrington Place has been used to trial an innovative approach to working with UCL's contractors to boost biodiversity.
A group (image below) including the project's primary contractor Integrated MEP, along with AECOM, UCL Estates, the UCL Sustainability Team, O&G landscaping and the London Wildlife Trust collaborated to introduce plants, bird boxes, feeders and baths, as well as visual improvements to this once dull and uninspiring roof space.
The planting used in the project was drawn from a list of native species identified in the draft UCL Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (including Honeysuckle, Hebe, Cat Mint, Thyme, Sedums and Lavenders). UCL worked with the London Wildlife Trust to create this document which recognises the role that UCL can play in supporting urban biodiversity. Tony Overbury, Sustainability Manager commended the project, stating that "the fact that honey bees have been drawn to the newly planted area so quickly shows the positive impact that even relatively small projects can achieve".
UCL's gardeners are also developing plans to install a biodiversity-boosting 'bug hotel' created from recycled building materials on the roof.
Chandra N Mistry (UCL Engineering, Maintenance and Infrastructure) worked on the project and commented that
"by donating time and materials, this contractor has shown a real commitment to UCL and to improving local biodiversity. We’ve shown that through collaboration between the university and its contractors, we can increase sustainability and the wellbeing of those who work and study here. We hope this will mark a change of paradigm at UCL, where more contractors will add value to projects by considering projects like this across the estate"
All plants, bird boxes and baths were donated to UCL free of charge by Integrated MEP.
To find out more, please contact the Sustainability Team.