Students swarm campus for a jar of Laidlaw honey

After a year of toil, the fifty thousand British bees of Laidlaw Library’s roof garden have yielded their first batch of honey. The occasion marks a successful year for the university’s bee programme.

In a joint initiative between the School of Earth and Environment and the University’s Sustainability Service, two beehives were installed on Laidlaw’s roof in the summer of 2015, reflecting the library’s vast ecological ambitions. The hive network has been sustained by a group of budding apiarist volunteers, who also tend to other hives situated across campus. The honey jars have been made available for purchase in the Ziff café, the Business School, and the Worsley Building’s PURE café.

Chair of the University’s Biodiversity Group, Mike Howroyd, spearheaded the project. Upon being presented a jar, he commented:

“This is a great example of collaborative working between departments and how, by working together, we can achieve amazing things to support wider biodiversity – in line with our new biodiversity standard.”

Though perhaps the most bewildering, Laidlaw’s beehives are by no means the library’s only ecological feature. Developers vowed to recycle 95% of waste during its construction, whilst all of its LED screens and low energy lights turn themselves off when not in use. The bees co-inhabit Laidlaw’s roof with solar panels and a range of vegetation. Consequently, the Woodhouse Lane building has received an “excellent” BREEAM environmental rating.

Yet the university’s successful bee programme has proved this a misnomer, and extended Laidlaw’s reputation as a hive for innovation.

Alexander Jones

(Image: University of Leeds)

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