London mayor Sadiq Khan wants the UK capital to become the world’s first “National Park City”, laying out £9m plans to boost the number of trees and green infrastructure within the city.
Called the Greener City Fund, the mayor has said he will use planning regulations to protect the Green Belt and incorporate into new developments more green roofs, green walls, rain gardens and wildlife habitats. The fund will also include the planting of thousands of trees, and investment into London’s green spaces and parks.
“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,” said Khan.
"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.”
Local groups can now apply for an initial £1m of grants, which will be used for planting trees within neighbourhoods and maintaining green community areas.
The move is part of the mayor’s move against London’s toxic air, with plans to make the city zero-carbon by 2050 with energy efficient buildings, clean transport and energy and increased recycling.
London will be launched as a National Park City in Spring 2019, with the proposal including the creation of a ‘Challenge Map’, which will highlight areas of London that should be prioritised for green investment. Additionally, a Green Spaces Commission will be established to work with environmental experts to help London’s boroughs attract investment, and transform and preserve their parks and green spaces. An Urban Greening Factor will also be introduced to ensure green development. Finally ‘grey’ areas of the city will be targeted to make them greener, with the aim of improving health and encouraging walking and cycling.
“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,” said the mayor. “I want to hear your views and ideas about how we can make London the greenest city in the world.”
First published www.sportparksleisure.com, written by Tom Anstey, 14 August 2017