Greening London’s Grey
The world’s first National Park City
The Mayor’s London Environment Strategy (LES) published in 2018, lists becoming the world’s first National Park City as a key aim, and on July 22 2019 the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, signed the London National Park City Charter. The Charter commits London to taking key actions to make London a city where people, places and nature are better connected.
Becoming the world’s first National Park City sets the path for significant improvements across London moving forward. In signing the Charter Sadiq Khan has committed to deliver on making London:
As the world’s first, London is leading the way, on the global stage, to creating greener and more sustainable cities which has significant impacts on future development and urban planning.
The approach taken to achieve the commitments set out in the Charter;
- Lead campaigns that drive demand for good practices
- Galvanise a movement with a shared vision
- Inspire activities that contribute to its aims, acting as a catalyst
- Join up activity and thinking, at a city-wide scale
- Increase investment into National Park City related activities
- Promote and share practice and knowledge sharing, amplifying existing activity and extending benefits
Moving forward, it is likely that London’s position as the world’s first National Park City will shape planning policies to enforce and secure that developments help to deliver greener and more sustainable places. These changes link in with the governments recent commitment to achieving biodiversity net again across all developments, nationwide. Although National Park Cities are inspired by the family of National Park’s they are not the same and do not benefit from the same levels of protection. National Park Cities are described as large urban areas that are managed and semi-protected through both formal and informal means to enhance its natural capital.
In achieving biodiversity net gain a development site is designed to ensure a higher biodiversity value post development than beforehand. Ensuring that this is achieved will contribute to many of the Charter’s commitments, as broadly speaking developments will be required to provide additional green space to attract and protect biodiversity.
Planning and development across London is in the midst of significant change, and at the forefront of this is the Emerging Draft London Plan, set to be adopted later in 2019. Updates to the London Plan require ‘greening’ in new developments, through the proposed Urban Greening Factor (UGF). Temple prepared evidence including an urban greening calculator for the UGF policy which has now largely replaced the previous Green Roof Policy.
The UGF states that all major development proposals should contribute to the greening of London by including urban greening as a fundamental element of design, which can be achieved through the implementation of high-quality landscaping, green roofs, green walls and nature based SUD’s.
All these changes in policy and London’s stance on sustainable development, which have been developed over the last few years have contributed to its recent title of the world’s first ‘National Park City’. Becoming the world’s first National Park City is an important milestone for London and combined with the emerging New London Plan, provides the city with the vision, commitment and framework for a greener and more sustainable future.