Swift boxes being erected at Stanley, Perthshire. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Buildings and biodiversity

Find out how to make space for nature in the built environment by combining building maintenance with enhancing biodiversity.

There are a number of ways you can increase the value of your property by making space for nature and biodiversity when building new developments and maintaining your buildings and grounds.

Maintaining buildings while protecting biodiversity

When maintaining existing buildings and infrastructure, take care to ensure that biodiversity will not be adversely affected. For example, you should check for signs of bats using buildings, otters using watercourses and nesting birds in trees.

For guidance, read Buildings, Highways and Infrastructure Maintenance.

Schools, colleges and universities

If you manage school builds, refurbishments or existing school grounds, even small changes can help improve biodiversity and increase the learning potential of your setting. Many educational establishments are now working to encourage wildlife by adding to the variety of natural environments on their campuses.

Use these guides to help implement biodiversity projects in schools and on further education and university campuses:

schoolchildren look at a bush

Outdoor learning

Robert Douglas Memorial Primary School publics taking their lessons out into their natural environment.

Town centres and housing

Most towns and cities have parks, gardens and allotments and other public urban greenspace, known as green infrastructure. This makes our day-to-day environment more attractive, more comfortable in the event of heat, strong wind and rain, and provides habitats for biodiversity.

For guidance on how to design and plan developments in our town centres keeping green infrastructure in mind see:

Greenspace and wildflowers outside a university building

Green infrastructure at Strathclyde University

A good example of mown strip and wildflower meadow at Strathclyde University, Glasgow

Hospitals and health centres

There is a significant interaction between well-being, health promotion and biodiversity. The benefits of biodiversity are not only environmental but also aesthetic, spiritual, cultural and recreational.

Visit our contributing to a healthier Scotland pages for more on the benefits of nature to physical and mental health, and Our Nature Health Service pages for more on how to integrate nature into hospital and nursing home settings.

The following resources can help you to manage biodiversity in a healthcare setting and utilise the benefits nature provide for health and wellbeing:

Green borders around a hospital

Dementia garden at New Craigs Hospital

Part of the Green Exercise Partnership which is a joint venture between Scottish Forestry, Scottish Natural Heritage and NHS Scotland

Grounds and habitat management

Grounds can include anything from office car parks, planters and gardens to municipal parks and golf courses. There are plenty of opportunities to make space for nature during your maintenance and management activities to benefit biodiversity and people.

Managing specific habitats and species

The following resources provide advice on how to manage your grounds;

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