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UK’s first net zero bus station opens

Leicester’s new, multi-million-pound, net zero carbon bus station at St Margaret’s has officially opened to the public.

With the ambition for the building to become one of the most sustainable transport hubs in the UK, the 1980s structure was stripped back to its partial steelwork frame as major elements of the previous building were retained and repaired to reduce the ‘embodied’ carbon cost of constructing the new building by an equivalent of more than 575 tonnes.

The new landmark building creates a striking gateway into the centre of the city. It features a glazed concourse to maximise natural lighting and cut energy consumption and a curved aluminium roof where a solar array of 390 photovoltaic panels will generate more clean, green power than is needed to run the building.

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The building has an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) with the highest possible rating of A+ and a score of -4. This means that the new bus station building will achieve better than net zero carbon from its operational emissions.

Bus passengers benefit from a completely redesigned, improved and more spacious internal layout with better seating, a new café, modern toilets complete with a Changing Places accessible facility, and real-time digital passenger information. The new building also provides significantly more capacity for national and regional services, with the number of available bays increased by a third from 18 to 24.

Electric bus charging points have been installed and the new building offers secure storage for up to 100 bicycles, as well being the latest location for a docking station as part of the city’s new e-bike share scheme.

Improvements to footpaths and roads next to the bus station are also complete. These include new and improved facilities for cyclists and pedestrians, safer crossings, new landscaping and more tree planting. The work help strengthen and improve links between key development sites and the city centre, including the new Savoy Street which provides a quick, direct pedestrian route link between St Margaret’s and Haymarket bus stations.

Tom Hewitt, Architect Director at BDP, said: “St Margaret’s Bus Station is now one of the most beautiful and important transport hubs in the UK and an exemplar for modern, sustainable design. Modern architecture should be careful, not careless, and transport buildings should respond to the requirements of modern cities like Leicester. Not only have we designed a world-class, inner-city building that is simple and practical but one that meets the LCC goal of becoming the most energy efficient station in the country. We are extremely excited by the possibilities that this new building brings to the city and we look forward to seeing it in use.”

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Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke, who leads on environment and transportation, said: “The new St Margaret’s Bus Station represents an ambitious and important step forwards in our efforts to become a carbon neutral city. We believe that this is the first net zero carbon bus station building in the UK.

“It shows our commitment to decarbonising our public buildings and will build on our work to promote sustainable transport and help improve services for bus passengers in and around the city, through our new Leicester Buses Partnership with local operators.

“You can’t help but notice what a positive difference this investment has already made to the area. We’re really looking forward to welcoming people to the new St Margaret’s Bus Station and into this striking new net zero carbon building when it reopens in a few days’ time.”

City Mayor Peter Soulsby, added: “The new St Margaret’s Bus Station is an important project for Leicester and the completion of this fantastic new building marks the beginning of a revival of this part of the city.

“This new investment is providing a huge boost for public transport. It will also act as a catalyst for the regeneration of this important gateway into Leicester, helping to attract even more investment into the city.

“The award of over £10million of government funding is a tremendous endorsement of the importance of this scheme and I am very grateful to everyone involved in helping to deliver this challenging project to such a tight deadline in difficult circumstances.”

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