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Have your say in shaping the Mayor of London’s Environment Strategy

Tuesday 7th November 2017

Corporate volunteering team at Denham Lock Wood nature reserve © Simon HawkinsCorporate volunteering team at Denham Lock Wood nature reserve © Simon Hawkins

The Mayor is seeking comments on his draft London Environment Strategy by midnight Friday 17th November. This is your chance to get involved.

The Strategy sets out a number of bold objectives to address many of the environmental challenges that London faces; from dreadful air quality, threatened greenspaces, declining wildlife and flood risk, to growing energy demands and water scarcity.

The document also sets out how the Mayor and his team aim to meet these challenges over the next few years.

While the city has seen significant improvements over recent decades, such as in river water quality and the reduction in atmospheric sulphur, London Wildlife Trust believes the capital's environment requires a step-change if it is to become a healthy place where we can live, work and play.

The Mayor has made some welcome and challenging commitments to protecting London's environment; is it clear as to how they will be delivered?

Proposals

Mayor of London's draft Environment Strategy

The strategy sets out a number of proposals to benefit biodiversity and the city's natural heritage, under three broad actions:

  • Increasing cover of green space, making more than half of London green or blue (water) space by 2050 (it is currently 47% green/blue space);
  • Conserving and enhancing wildlife and natural habitats;
  • Valuing London's natural capital as an economic asset so as to secure greater investment in its management and creation.

These are translated into a suite of proposals, which include maintaining the protection of wildlife sites (known as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation, or SINCs) and the Green Belt.

The Mayor proposes to enhance access to greenspaces and to increase the amount of greenery on our buildings and along our streets (for example with living roofs, street trees and rain gardens). He also wants to increase the amount and quality of a range of wildlife habitats, and to help organisations provide more opportunities for volunteering.

A new London Green Spaces Commission is proposed to explore options for resourcing and managing the city's green infrastructure into the future, especially against the backdrop of public austerity, the recognition of the benefits of greenspaces to health, and the presence of the financial sector in the city.

There is also a proposal to introduce a 'green space factor', a tool based on that being operated in the Swedish city of Malmö which aims to ensure that development secures a certain amount of greenery either on or close to the site.

A National Park City

The Strategy also aims to meet a Mayoral commitment to make London a National Park City, by "giving everyone opportunities to experience, enjoy and benefit from the natural environment". A National Park City, it suggests, could help London's green infrastructure to "be better managed to benefit people and nature, and the economy on which all Londoners depend."

This is an area in which respondents are particularly asked what the attributes of a National Park City should be in order to shape what it might mean and what it will do.

What's missing? 

However, the Strategy says little about the impacts of use of pesticides & herbicides, the marine (or estuarine) environment, light pollution, or the environmental impacts of London through illegal or exploitative trade, such as peat, charcoal, or products of endangered species.

Mathew Frith, London Wildlife Trust's Director of Conservation, said: "We strongly support the development of this Environment Strategy, and we welcome a great many of the proposals it contains. However, there are some gaps and some further information required to set out more clearly how the Mayor will implement some of his laudable objectives, which will be raising in our response. We urge all those that have in interest in the environment of our capital to make their views known by 17th November."

Have your say

London Wildlife Trust will be responding to the proposals by the deadline of 17th November.

The public can respond to a short public survey which closes on the same day. 


Main banner image shows a corporate volunteering team at the Trust's Denham Lock Wood nature reserve © Simon Hawkins