New homes for Londoners

At Home with Nature

Date published: 
26 January 2017
  • There is a risk that London will see its biodiversity being squeezed or reduced as planners and developers try to increase housing density in the city.
  • Nature provides physical, mental, social, environmental and economic benefits for city dwellers, but both flora and fauna are rapidly decreasing in UK cities.
  • Local authority planning departments have lost biodiversity expertise in recent years, largely due to funding cuts.
  • Perceptions that including biodiversity adaptations is costly and complicated mean that some developers avoid biodiversity completely.

Leonie Cooper AM has published the report ‘At Home with Nature: Encouraging biodiversity in new housing developments’ on behalf of the London Assembly Housing Committee.

The report makes recommendations for the Mayor, who has an important role in ensuring biodiversity is enhanced and new habitats are created, as London attempts to tackle the housing crisis.

The recommendations include:

  • The Mayor should amend the London Plan to include the wording ‘net gain’ similar to the LLDC policy, to ensure biodiversity is enhanced and created, not just protected.
  • The Mayor should consider the possibility of implementing a green space factor in London, similar to that in place in Berlin and Malmö, and pilot this scheme in opportunity areas, housing zones and developments of strategic importance.
  • The Mayor needs to bridge the gap between the strategic vision of the London Plan and practice on the ground at borough level through the creation of a Biodiversity in Housing SPG.

Report Impact

  • Read below the report's feedback and media coverage.
  • Also read the committee’s response to the recent Government consultation on biodiversity net gain in planning.

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