When French developer Vinci and its equity partner Meridiam Infrastructure announced financial close on a £730 million (€846 million; $1.1 billion), 25-year agreement to repair and maintain roads on the UK’s Isle of Wight last year, they probably didn’t envisage a bee-inspired contract renegotiation.
But when it became clear that the road upgrade process would involve cutting back all vegetation from rural verges, the island’s council came forward with a proposal to find ways of ensuring that wildlife was preserved.
According to a BBC report, options are now being explored to leave roadside vegetation free for bees and other species as long as highway visibility is maintained.
This came as welcome news to entomologist Steven Falk, who told the BBC that road verges had “a critically important role to play in promoting healthy populations of bees”.
He went on to add that the Isle of Wight – situated off the south coast of England with a human population of 140,500 – was one of Britain’s most important areas for wild bees and supports rare species including the long-horned bee and potter flower bee. I bet you didn’t know that, dear reader.
Of course, within the pages of this magazine, we frequently ruminate on the risks facing infrastructure investors. Maybe from now on, the possible threat posed to insects will need to be factored in. Let’s just hope no-one ends up getting stung.