Leeds' Bridgewater Place is now home to over 70, 000 honey bees in a bid to improve the skyscraper's environmental impact. The building is managed by JLL whose objective is to be a market leading, sustainable professional services firm by creating environmental spaces, buildings and cities.

The beehives were installed four weeks ago on the building's Eastern rooftop, 10 storeys up, to bolster the local bee population and to help pollinate agricultural crops. 

The initiative was thought up by building facilities manager, Alan Stead, who works to minimise or where possible, improve the environmental impact of Bridgewater Place. Given its central location and lack of green space, Alan had to be creative when it came to thinking of ways to make the building more sustainable. With the support of Yorkshire Beekeepers, the bees were installed on the 10th floor of the building. It was important to Alan to work on this project with local individuals and organisations, like Yorkshire Beekeepers. 

Honey bee populations are in decline and it is thought this is due to habitat loss. The decline in bee numbers could lead to problems growing food. In fact, it’s estimated that a third of the food we eat can be attributed to bee pollination. It’s important to not underestimate the work bees do for the food chain. However, Bridgewater Place now has the highest rooftop bee hives in Yorkshire, providing the bees with an unorthodox, but very important, habitat. 

After their settling in period the hives are thriving, even better than expected. The hives will have to be looked after carefully to ensure they stay healthy – the average worker bee lives for just five to six weeks, and in this time it’s hoped they will reproduce many times over. 

Keith Dobson, the beekeeper who installed and cares for the hives said,

“They have been there for around four weeks now and are doing very, very well and are really calm. I check on them once a week. They pollinate in every way and each month the honey they will produce will be really diverse based on the flowers in the area.”

If this trial on the 10th floor goes well, Alan is looking take this initiative to even greater heights and expand to the 31st floor of the building. 

Honey will soon be on sale from the security desk at Bridgewater Place.