Unique Motorway Services Roof Skeleton Lake

Interested parties:
Wildflower Turf Ltd, Extra, Smeeden Foreman, Brambledown Landscapes Ltd, ABG Geosynthetics Ltd, Geogreen Solutions.

The brief:
Opened in March 2020, the award-winning Leeds Skelton Lake Services has been billed as the greenest motorway service station in the United Kingdom.

With the £64m motorway service area occupying a lakeside environment within a 40,000m2 ecologically diverse country park, the sympathetic integration of the building was a key design priority and Wildflower Turf Ltd was asked to help provide a unique and eye-catching living roof that would also exist harmoniously with the natural landscape.

The work:
Of particular importance during the design phase of the striking roof feature was a requirement to ensure that the wildflower meadow would conform to planning regulations while also assisting the building to blend into the existing landscape.

The undulating roof is soil-less and configured in eleven separate sections in a unique ‘ribbon’ pattern. Wildflower Turf Ltd designed a bespoke blend of 41 native UK wildflower species, and also supplied substrate in order to ensure the speed and health of plant growth as well as cater for
a roof design that only allowed for limited weight bearing.

Over 4,600m2 of Wildflower Turf was supplied to the project, with the meadow designed to withstand the elements while also requiring minimal maintenance.

The project was not without its challenges. The very wet winter of 2019 ensured that the site was often sodden and delays in the build and installation were inevitable. Likewise, the dry weather that followed in the spring and summer of 2020 meant that irrigation was required to ensure that the wildflowers received sufficient water during its establishment.

The results:
As well as providing a biodiverse home for bees and other invertebrate species, and helping the development to blend visually into the surrounding landscape, the roof meadow plays an important role in the site’s overall sustainable drainage strategy by absorbing rainwater and minimising surface water run-off.

In combination with the growing medium and filtration fabrics within the green roof construction, the wildflowers will help to filter dust and pollution from the air and rainfall, thus reducing the amount of chemicals and pollutants that reach the surrounding river networks.

The green roof also helps to significantly reduce carbon emissions from the amenity building with any heat generated drawn into the cool roof construction and then dissipated to the environment. Furthermore, the wildflower meadow will assist in absorbing and reducing low frequency sounds from the nearby motorway.

The project was recognised with several accolades in 2021, including a BALI Commercial Green Roof of the Year award win and an NFRC UK Roofing Award for best green roof.