Highcross Leicester's Sustainability Pledge

Biodiversity sustainability pledge

Biodiversity Action Plan 2024

Concern for the environment and promoting a broader sustainability agenda are integral to how business is managed at Highcross.

What is Biodiversity?

Biological Diversity or Biodiversity “is the occurrence of different types of ecosystems, different species of organisms with the whole range of their variants and genes adapted to different climates, and environments along with their interactions and processes” - without which Human societies cannot exist.
The key benefits of Biodiversity for humans and the planet range from environmental services, tradable goods, economic value, ethical value, ecotourism, knowledge, subsistence goods, and aesthetic values.

The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, saw the UK Government sign the Biodiversity Convention. This was followed up in 1994 by the publication of Biodiversity: The UK Action Plan, with the goal ‘to conserve and enhance biological diversity in the UK’.
Local Biodiversity Action Plans have been identified to achieve this goal, which aim to focus on conservation and enhancement of biodiversity by means of local partnerships, taking account of national and local priorities.

Additionally in 2015 the Sustainable development goals further emphasised the importance of Biodiversity for Sustainable development, as demonstrated through Goal 15 which aims to “Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss” 3.

Highcross has low level planters in the following areas: Burgess Street and Grammar School Court. Additional planters are present within mall spaces, the management suite and suite balcony

There are also several trees in these areas which are maintained as part of a landscaping contract on site. Contractors are assigned to carry out internal and external landscaping works and will incorporate flowering plants into low level planting areas. Pollinating plants will attract Butterflies and Bees to the area and support insect life.

Roof garden

Roof gardens can offer effective sustainability solutions for buildings with redundant or unused roof space. Highcross has a planting area of approximately 6m x 15m, in the vicinity of the rooftop car park.

Using the roof garden, Highcross staff have been able to grow their own produce which has provided them with an opportunity to learn how food can be grown in any space, showing team members the basics of growing food and provide them with skills to transfer into their own gardens and helps to promote locally sourced, healthy food.

In previous years, Highcross staff have harvested: potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, lettuce, coriander, radishes, onions, tomatoes; of which some produce has been donated to a local community food cafe. The roof garden has also provided a home to Pied Wagtail who nested and reared 6 chicks.

Invasive Species Management

Although commonly known to attract butterflies and bees, Buddleia is a non-native invasive species (Butterfly Conservation, 2012) which causes problems for Highcross across the building. Similarly Russian Vine grows in abundance on Elbow Lane (adjacent to the John Lewis Multi Storey car park). Management of both these species is via Plant Plan who cut these plants back at least once a year, usually during the summer.

Sustainable Drainage Systems

To protect local water courses Highcross have carried out Internal Audits to assess how drainage is managed on site. Highcross has the following procedures in place to protect local water courses:

  • Drainage plans held by the Technical Services Department (hard and soft copies) with foul drains identified.
  • Planting areas growing on rooftop to reduce rainwater run-off.
  • Interceptors to reduce the release of harmful oils into drainage systems.

Swift and Bat Boxes

The external wall facing Shires Lane has been identified as a potential site to install bat and swift boxes. Both boxes have been installed, taking in to account the orientation and location preferred by each species. At present time there are no Swifts or Bats inhabiting the boxes yet, though plans to encourage both are being considered.

Developing Partnerships and Public Events

Highcross has previously enjoyed a partnership with GroundWorks Leicester and Leicestershire as one of two nominated charities and receive in kind and financial benefits from us on a regular basis in the past. Their status as an environmental conservation charity gave Highcross access to ecological information from the team and demonstrated Highcross commitment to Environmental protection. Although Highcross is committed to British Heart Foundation (our charity partner of the year) at present, Highcross could again benefit from its links with ecological organisations in the following ways:

  • Arrange staff CSR days with an ecological/conservation theme.
  • Utilise external knowledge to improve the roof-garden facility.

Highcross continue to work with Property Managers, Savills PLC to work towards their Group Sustainability Policy.

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