Green roof market growing 17% each year, first market study finds

A report into the size, value and growth of the UK green roof market has found it is expanding at a rate of 17% each year.

The report - First Assessment of the UK Green Roof Market - was launched at London City Hall this week at an event hosted by the Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues.

Produced by in association with the National Federation of Roofing Contractors, its findings demonstrate there is a green roof market focus in London, partly due to its specific planning policy. 

The Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues said: "In London our planning policies support green infrastructure which has led to an impressive array of green roofs that boost air quality, help the environment and make the city more attractive. 

"From roofs that prevent flooding by capturing rainwater to providing wildlife habitats or high rise gardens, Londoners are using their space creatively.

"In the future to help mitigate the impacts of climate change and achieve the Mayor’s ambition of making the city 50% green, we will need even more green roofs, green walls and street trees.

"I hope other cities follow our lead and realise the huge environmental benefits of urban greening."

The report shows market growth of 17% year on year – both nationally and in London, where 42% of the market currently is focused. But the report also points out, there is huge potential to grow the market not just in London but in urban areas across the UK.

Speakers at the event included Mark Harris chair of the Green Roof Organisation, Dusty Gedge of and Kelly Bream operations director of Berkeley Homes who gave examples of the initiatives the developer is pursuing to boost biodiversity within its schemes.  

In May 2016 Berkeley Homes committed to creating a net biodiversity gain as part of its wider business strategy and is currently working on the creation of 12 parks in consented schemes in London. Bream described how just across from London City Hall, Berkeley's development at 1 Tower Bridge incorporates extensive green and brown roofs featuring bee hives managed with the help of Bermondsey Bees, and supported with additional pollinator centric planting in a nearby churchyard.

"We are committed to understanding more on green roof iniatiatives, technology and infrastructure – so we can be at the forefront," said Bream.  

Said the report's authors:  "Our cities face urgent challenges in the 21st Century. The impacts of climate change are increasingly being felt – heatwaves, storms and flooding, air pollution and more.

"Green roofs are an essential tool in combatting climate impacts in cities while providing much-needed space for nature. The UK will need a healthy green roof market if it is to deliver the adaptation necessary for the health, well-being and prosperity of our towns and cities."

The report's production was supported by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors.  CEO James Talman told the launch event: "Roofing is sometimes viewed in a narrow context, but the continued expansion of the green roof market plays an essential role in highlighting the diversity of the industry.

"Apart from the ecological, environmental and social benefits green roofs provide, they also are important in creating rewarding careers for multi-skilled professionals.

"We are pleased to support the green roof industry in its quest to see other large urban conurbations in the UK following the GLA’s lead on ‘greening’ our cities."

A detailed analysis of the findings will be published in an upcoming edition of Horticulture Week

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