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Utrecht rooftops to be ‘greened’ with plants and mosses in new plan

‘Vertical forest’ tower will have 10,000 plants on its facade in bid to reinvigorate biodiversity

Every roof in the city district of Utrecht is to be “greened” with plants and mosses or have solar panels installed under plans driven by the success of a similar scheme for the municipality’s bus stops.

The “no roofs unused” policy is part of an attempt to reinvigorate biodiversity in the city and create a less stressful and happier environment, of which the construction of a so-called “vertical forest tower with 10,000 plants on its facade is set to become a leading example.

That building alone, close to Utrecht railway station, will host 360 trees and 9,640 shrubs and flowers, equal to 1 hectare (2.47 acres) of woods, once it is completed in 2022.

More generally, a plan set to be agreed by the city council next September will introduce an obligation to green the roofs of all the buildings in the city district. The municipality already runs an oversubscribed grant scheme to cover 50% of the costs for homeowners who want to green their roofs, up to a maximum of €20,000 (£17,900) per application.

Alderman Kees Diepeveen said: “In this city district every roof will be either used for green or for solar panels. It will be that when you look at the different heights, the lower rooftops will be mainly green and the higher ones will be mainly solar panels. And now again a combination of the two because solar panels need some cooling.

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