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London's green spaces need us!

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CPRE London calls for fresh commitment to London's open spaces and their connectivity

Our response to the London Assembly Environment Committee’s survey on London’s green spaces highlights that, between 2009 and 2012, losses of London's open spaces have been greatest in Metropolitan Open Land (106 hectares) and London's green belt (60  hectares) - see chart below.

The largest type of development on London’s open spaces has been from Housing (32%), followed by mixed-use developments that include new housing (21%)  and sports-related developments (17%). CPRE London has received increasing reports of developments on green space from our members and notes the apparent failure to invest in the All London Green Grid as a lost opportunity to maximise the multiple benefits that green spaces can provide e.g. recreation & tourism, health-related benefits, food production, air quality, biodiversity habitats, climate mitigation and adaptation, noise reduction (see our Living London paper).

Open space loss (hectares) by land type (2009-2012)

OS Loss by land type 2009-2013

CPRE London recommendations include:

  • Green space policy and investment: the London Mayor and London Boroughs need to adopt up-to-date open space policies and investment to protect and promote our green spaces and landscape connectivity. We also recommend producing an annual Green Infrastructure Audit to review progress.
  • Brownfield first: Boroughs should continue to prioritise 'brownfield-first' developments and impose compulsory purchase orders &/or charges on land banking  and empty properties.
  • Valuing green spaces: Boroughs need to fully assess the value of existing green spaces prior to any development planning permission – assessing the full value to communities, environment, local economy of the site, as a part of the decision making process. 
  • Community support: The Mayor and boroughs should support further work with schools, faith groups, residents & housing associations to encourage maximisation of green infrastructure benefits, along with the protection and management of green spaces, including private gardens. This should include provision of additional grants and incentives to encourage local ownership and involvement in green sites.

You can download our response here (or click below).

The Assembly survey is open for comments until 4  September. Click here to respond.

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