The UK Government has been slowly addressing thie issue of green infrastrucutre, and now recognises the importance of green roofs in planning guidance and sustainable development. In February 2008 ‘Living roofs and walls - Technical report: Supporting London Plan Policy’ identified London Borough’s new approach to the development and integration of green roofs. This publication stated that the Mayor of London and its boroughs should expect major developments to incorporate living roofs and walls where feasible. This recognition of the role green roofs play in creating a healthy and efficient environment is a milestone in the development of specific policies to promote and integrate their widespread use. The Ethelred building in Lambeth, London is the UK’s largest green roof refurbishment project which is regarded by residents as a distinct improvement to their local community.

Sheffield is recognised as being one of the lead cities in the UK for the promotion and construction of green roofs.  Universities in the city have active research projects while the City Council’s website includes advice on how to install your own green roof.  The council are clear advocates for the promotion of green roofs within the city where the newly built Sharrow Primary School has a green roof that has recently been declared a nature reserve.

In 2011, the GRO Green Roof Code was published by Groundworks Sheffield, detailing best practice on green roof design, specification, installationg and maintenance. It was written by a technical steering group of living roof expert in the UK. More information and links can be found on the Useful Links page.

There are no national or local policies in Scotland that require green roofs.  There is therefore a clear opportunity to address this and make Scotland the lead for green roof policy and regulation in the UK as is already the case with SUDS. The Scottish Green Roof Forum has produced an information leaflet with advice, basic information and frequently asked questions. It can be found here.

Green roofs that are constructed in Scotland vary in size, appearance and function and generally exist for reasons of appearance or aesthetics and on buildings that are atypical.  A database of green roofs in Scotland is being considered by the SGRF and a key aspect of this would be the original reason for including a green roof.

Some examples of Scottish green roofs can be found below:

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Turf roof on a Croft in Shetland (Tommy Isbister)                     Edinburgh University Vet School (©. Bauder) 

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Kinnaird Primary School, Falkirk (© Bauder)                             Aberfoyle Visitor Centre (© Bauder)

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Pollockshields House (© Bauder)                              Small Mammal Hospital (© Bauder)