Tag Archives: Bracknell

Plight of the Bumblebee and other pollinators

The Government’s launch in June of an urgent review of the crisis facing bees and other pollinators in the UK was heartening news. But in its pledge to introduce a national pollinator strategy, it will be vital that the Government thinks creatively and deploys every weapon in its arsenal to protect pollinators and the essential work they do.

Living walls, green screens and other forms of vertical planting can dramatically boost biodiversity levels in restricted spaces and urban areas because they take up just a fraction of the space required by traditional green areas. With the right selection of plant species, living walls can offer a vital source of nectar for pollinating insects, and provide a network of green corridors that better link built-up areas to the surrounding countryside.

Mobilane’s LivingWall for Waitrose in Bracknell, Berkshire (pictured below) is just one example of a vertical planting scheme created with the specific aim of attracting bees and other wildlife into an urban site. The results have been spectacular – an attractive wall with year-round interest that also supports local biodiversity.

Of course, the Government is right to review the use of pesticides and consider how to properly protect pollinators’ usual habitats like wildflower meadows. Existing government initiatives include 12 new Nature Improvement Areas and the promotion and funding of the sowing of nectar flower mixes on farmland. More drastically, in April the European Union suspended the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides linked to serious harm in bees – despite the opposition of the UK ministers. But the scale of the problem is epic.

In the UK, wild honey bees are nearly extinct, solitary bees are declining in more than half the areas studied and some species of bumblebee have been lost altogether. This trend is repeating worldwide, yet bees and other pollinators fertilise three-quarters of global food crops – their monetary value to world agriculture runs into billion of pounds.

Experts are calling on the Government to enhance the food and nesting sites available to pollinators including flies, butterflies, moths, wasps and beetles, as well as bees. Put simply, we need to plant more flowering plants; the UK alone lost a whopping 97% of our flower-rich meadows between 1930 and 1984.

The challenge is huge but wherever there is bare wall surface, we have an opportunity to help create a habitat and food for pollinators. Each and every additional square meter of flowering vertical planting helps to restore the odds in bees’ favour and this benefits us all.

A Living Wall at Waitrose in Bracknell

 

Plight of the bumblebee and other pollinators

LivePanel Living Wall features in Waitrose Greenest Store

When Waitrose opened its Bracknell store at the end of last year it was announced as their greenest yet.  It is a remarkable example of how sustainable and environmental design is truly at the heart of all new developments.  A key feature at this store is one of our beautiful LivePanel Living Walls which, at 49 square metres, is hard to miss when you arrive to do your shopping.

It truly is an array of colour.  The plants chosen to feature in this wall are from a large variety of colourful and variegated plants to ensure that it remains an attractive feature all year round.  Our plants were specially grown off site and delivered ready for the installation so that all in all it took our contractors, Hedera Screens, only 3 days to install on site.

The beauty of our LivePanels is not just in there aesthetic value it is also in that they are extremely flexible in  design and offer extensive environmental benefits.   In terms of scale and size there really are no boundaries and we can create bespoke designs to suit the topography and weather conditions of each site.  We can even build in company logos, choose specific colours and ensure the wall stays green through the winter months.

Historically, there have been issues involved with planting and maintaining living walls however the design and systems we use overcome any failure problems.  Put simply, we use a modular construction system meaning that the panes can be easily adjusted to fit any space.  The sections have a specially developed substrate which is designed to enable the plants to easily establish themselves and thrive.  There is an integrated automated irrigation system which provides the plants with essential water and nutrients to ensure that they are kept in the best condition and mitigates against the human error of forgetting to water them!   The panels are installed onto the face of the building and secured by an aluminium frame.

One of the most advantageous benefits about our LivePanel system is that it is extremely low maintenance leaving it a hassle free addition to help enhance the appearance of buildings.