A number of breeding pairs of skylarks have this week begun nesting on the “living roof” of the Rolls-Royce manufacturing plant and head office at Chichester, West Sussex.
Believed to be the largest ‘living roof’ in the UK it covers eight acres and is planted with a variety of sedum plants. Skylarks generally nest on the ground in fields and meadows, where the risk of attack from predators is high. The Rolls-Royce roof is a much safer home for them.

Dr Paul F Donald, Senior Research Biologist International Research Team RSPB said, “It is great that skylarks have chosen to nest on the roof of the Rolls-Royce manufacturing plant. Skylark numbers have fallen during the last twenty years, largely due to changes in agriculture. Intensive research by the RSPB and others has now enabled conservationists to start addressing this problem. With the expansion of ideal nesting sites, like the Rolls-Royce roof, future generations will be able to enjoy the song of this wonderful bird”.

Ian Robertson, Chairman and Chief Executive of Rolls-Royce Motor Cars said, “We are delighted to learn that the skylarks have begun nesting on our roof. The forty two acre site has been landscaped to ensure it blends into the South Downs countryside and developing the biodiversity has been one of our major objectives”.

As well as acting as an ideal habitat for flora and fauna the living roof also provides insulation in the winter and evaporative cooling in the summer, which cuts energy bills.”

Over 400,000 trees and shrubs have been planted on the 42 acre Rolls-Royce site, encouraging a wide variety of plants and animals into the area as well as creating a natural screen which makes the facility almost invisible from the surroundings.

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