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Nature in the City: Celebrating Biodiversity in Carnaby

Carnaby is a world class shopping and dining destination and is also a haven for wildlife thanks to property owner Shaftesbury's commitment to increase biodiversity. Nature in the City campaign highlights Carnaby’s increasing wildlife and green projects in this heart of the West End. The campaign sits alongside Shaftesbury’s sustainability policy across its central London portfolio and its leading role in the Wild West End partnership.

Shaftesbury has increased the amount of green walls, hanging baskets, insect homes, planters, beehives, green roofs and trees, to create an attractive and buzzing environment for wildlife to set up home. Globally, 90% of wild flowering plant species depend on, to some extent, the transfer of pollen by bees and other animals. Crops which depend on pollinators contribute to a staggering 35% of global crop production volume.

Across the 14 streets of Carnaby there are: 8 bird boxes, 2 beehives, 5 insect homes, 725 window boxes, 7 green walls, 18 green roofs, 46 hanging baskets and 9 trees.

All 725 window boxes in Carnaby are planted with 100% pollinator friendly plants including Penstemon, Veronica, Fuchsia, Bacopa, Lavender, Buxus and Ivy. They help provide for the 100,000 honey bees that live in the 2 hives on a Carnaby Street rooftop. It isn't just bees that are being attracted; over the past 2 months several bird species have been spotted including a Fire Crest, Pied Wagtails and even a pair of Mallard ducks.

Head of Sustainability at Shaftesbury, Matt Smith says:

“Our city is home to greater breadth of wildlife than many people realise, an estimated 14,000 species have been recorded living amongst the buildings, streets and parks of London. Shaftesbury has been long committed to creating habitats that enable nature to thrive. Access to nature also benefits people, studies show that connecting with nature can reduce stress and boost wellbeing.”

Shaftesbury's vision in Carnaby is to ensure all capital projects identify and include biodiversity features. They have already hit their target of increasing coverage by 10% year on year, and have increased window boxes and planters by 20%.

Bees’ Needs Week

Carnaby Street will be rebranded CarnaBEE Street from 13 – 19 July 2020, which marks the return of Bees’ Needs Week. Shaftesbury is proud to partner with Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for their annual campaign, raising awareness of the nation’s bees and other pollinators.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow says:

“I am hugely grateful to Shaftesbury for its continued commitment to raising awareness of our pollinating insects. Pollinators play a crucial role in food production and agriculture, and are also vital to our ecosystem. They are our unpaid army of friends.

During this unprecedented time, many of us have connected with nature more than ever before, I would urge everyone who can, to do simple things - like growing more flowers, growing them for a long a season as possible, and cutting grass less often (I’m doing this at home and the bees are loving the clover) - to ensure our precious pollinators thrive.”

Simon Quayle, Director at Shaftesbury says:

“We are proud to support Defra’s annual campaign to raise awareness of the crucial role bees and other pollinators play in our lives. We are committed to making Carnaby a sustainable, pollinator friendly destination in the West End, with over 100,000 bees living on our roof tops.” / @CarnabyLondon

For further information please contact Meghan Ryan at Sister London Tel: 020 7287 9601

For more information about Bees’ Needs Week 2020 please contact the Defra Press Office

Caitlin Mullally Tel: 0207 238 0000

Notes to Editors

Hi-res images and interviews available on request


Carnaby is in the heart of London’s West End, where over 100 retail brands of quality and distinction and over 60 independent restaurants, cafes and bars can be found across 14 streets, including the world famous Carnaby Street. Carnaby is a unique and iconic experiential shopping, dining and leisure destination.


Shaftesbury is a Real Estate Investment Trust which invests exclusively in the liveliest parts of London’s West End. Focused on food, beverage, retail and leisure, our portfolio is clustered mainly in Carnaby, Seven Dials and Chinatown, but also includes substantial ownerships in East and West Covent Garden, Soho and Fitzrovia.

Extending to 15.2 acres, the portfolio comprises 607 restaurants, cafés, pubs and shops, extending to 1.1 million sq. ft., 0.4 million sq. ft. of offices and 610 apartments. All our properties are close to the main West End Underground stations, which currently handle more than 225m passengers p.a., and within ten minutes’ walk of the two West End transport hubs for the Elizabeth Line, at Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street, which long-term projections indicate could be handling 200 million passengers annually. 

In addition, we have a 50% interest in the Longmartin joint venture, which has a long leasehold

interest, extending to 1.9 acres, in St Martin's Courtyard in Covent Garden.

Our Values

At Shaftesbury, we have five core values that are fundamental to our behaviour, decision making and the delivery both of our purpose and strategic objectives: being human in how we operate, original in how we nurture talent and think, community minded in our approach to the West End, being responsible and long term in our approach to everything.

Since 2015, Shaftesbury has supported the UN Global Compact principles of sustainability and, in 2019, we integrated the UN Sustainable Development Goals into our sustainability strategy. We have long been committed to operating in a sustainable way. At the core of our sustainability strategy is reusing and improving, rather than redeveloping buildings. In doing so, Shaftesbury extends the useful economic lives of these buildings while preserving the West End’s rich heritage for future generations.