The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched plans to help make the capital “the world’s first National Park City”.
The mayor says he wants London to be one of the greenest cities on earth.
As part of this ambition, the Mayor says he will use planning regulations to protect the Green Belt. He also wants to get more green roofs included in new developments, as well as green walls, rain gardens, and habitats for wildlife.
He says he will also fund thousands more trees and improvements to community green spaces, and help London’s boroughs invest in parks.
As a first step to making this happen, the Mayor today announced a new £9 million Greener City Fund for London to create and improve green spaces. Local groups can apply for the first £1m of grants to plant neighbourhood trees and maintain green community areas.
The Mayor made the announcement as he launched his draft Environment Strategy for consultation at Woodberry Wetlands in Hackney, alongside the London Wildlife Trust.
The strategy outlines Sadiq’s vision of making the city a greener, cleaner and healthier place by targeting London’s toxic air, and making London a zero-carbon city by 2050 with energy efficient buildings, clean transport and energy and increasing recycling.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “London is home to outstanding green spaces that I want to protect, invest in and improve as we aim to become the world’s first National Park City.
“We can also increase the amount of greenery in the city by installing many more green roofs and making our streets greener. From our famous Royal Parks, to our much-loved community gardens and urban nature reserves like Woodberry Wetlands, this ‘green infrastructure’ is a vital asset that improves air quality, boosts quality of life, conserves wildlife and attracts thousands of visitors.
“I’ve set out my plans to improve London’s environment by fighting pollution, tackling waste and promoting cleaner energy so we can make London a healthier city that adapts to the impacts of climate change. I want to hear your views and ideas about how we can make London the greenest city in the world.”
The Mayor is working to set criteria for the idea of a “National Park City”, which will include protecting and increasing the amount of green space in the capital, and increasing access to green spaces.
The Mayor’s strategy proposals are designed to help London towards this goal and the aim of launching London as a National Park City at an international Summit in Spring 2019.
Proposals include creating a ‘Challenge Map’ to highlight areas of London that should be priorities for green infrastructure investment, setting up a Green Spaces Commission, and developing a new ‘Urban Greening Factor’.
The Mayor says he will also use his planning powers to protect Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land. This could increase pressure on housing, however. London’s Green Belt is a key constraint on housing growth in the South East as a whole.
Daniel Raven Ellison, National Park City campaigner said: “Making London a National Park City is an opportunity to improve the health of all Londoners. One of our main goals is to make the majority of London physically green and we very much looking forward to working with the Mayor on this target. The capital is famous for being a financial, cultural and political centre, but it’s an ecological centre too, with an incredible 14,000 species of wildlife, 3.8 million gardens and nearly as many trees as people. I look forward to working with the Mayor through the National Park City Foundation which is galvanising a movement to turn this big vision for London into a reality.”