MD2141 National Park City Programme

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD2141
Date signed: 
06 July 2017
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Mayor committed to ‘make London the first National Park City’, an overarching pledge for other manifesto commitments including enhancing biodiversity by creating green corridors and embarking on a major tree-planting programme.

This MD sets out how the Environment Team will help to meet these ambitions and create a legacy of environmental stewardship in London through the creation of the Mayor’s National Park City Programme. 
It details the policy and advocacy work, and the delivery programme that will make up to £9m available 2017-2021 toward the costs of increasing London’s tree canopy and improve London’s green spaces.
 

Decision

The Mayor:   

1.    approves expenditure of: 
(a) £9,000,000 on National Park City Delivery Programme; and 
(b) £238,000 on National Park City Policy and Advocacy Programme; and 

2.    delegates to the Executive Director of Development, Enterprise & Environment authority to approve all further arrangements for the delivery of the National Park City Programme.
 

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

1.1.    London’s parks, green spaces, and natural landscapes are the places where Londoners can relax, exercise, play and enjoy the capital’s natural heritage and culture. They also provide habitat for wildlife, and contribute both to protecting London from the impact of climate change and helping to improve London’s air quality.

1.2.    Enhancing the public realm and greening the capital improves the usability and the look and feel of the city, making it a more pleasant place for residents and visitors, and an environment in which businesses can thrive. Furthermore, maximising the benefits of London’s ‘green infrastructure’ contributes to maintaining and improving London’s image as the world’s greenest big city, driving up the capital’s rank in world surveys which helps to attract inward investment leading to  jobs and growth.  This MD sets out how the Environment Team will make London a National Park City and create a legacy of environmental stewardship in London.

1.3.    The Mayor’s manifesto included a commitment to “make London the first National Park City”. This is an overarching pledge for other manifesto commitments including: strengthened protection for open spaces including playing fields, Metropolitan Open Land, and our Sites of Importance for Local Nature Conservation; enhancing biodiversity by creating green corridors; and, embarking on a major tree-planting programme.  

1.4.    The draft London Environment Strategy (LES) includes a chapter on Green Infrastructure and Natural Capital.  This sets out how we intend to work with partners and stakeholders to improve London’s natural environment and make the city greener. Making London a National Park City (NPC) provides the overarching narrative for delivering the strategy objectives and outcomes and provides a compelling public-facing expression for the programme of work that the Mayor will implement, and the activities of our partners that the Mayor will support.  The programme will demonstrate the role of the Mayor in terms of: leadership – through better policy and stronger advocacy; and delivery – through projects that are tangible manifestations of policy and advocacy.  This MD sets out the approach proposed to move the Mayor’s vision into delivery and covers financial years 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21.

1.5.    This MD builds and expands on the Mayor’s approval (under cover of MD2050) of the allocation of £750,000 of funding in 2016-2017 to support tree planting. That one-off grant round is now complete with 29 grants issued and 41,000 trees planted. 

1.6.    The £9m budget for the NPC Delivery Programme was approved by the Mayor under cover of MD 2076.

1.7.    The £238,000 budget for the NPC Policy and Advocacy work was approved by the Mayor under cover of MD 2091.

1.8.    Any further decisions relating to the National Park City Programme will be subject to Director Decision (DD) approval process. 
 

Objectives and expected outcomes

2.1.    The NPC Programme will promote the benefits of Green Infrastructure (GI) and demonstrate that its principles are as integral to the success of our city as any other type of infrastructure. 

 

Green infrastructure is the network of green spaces (as well as features such as street trees and green roofs) that is planned, designed and managed to:

  • Promote healthier living
  • Lessen the impacts of climate change
  • Improve air quality and water quality
  • Encourage walking and cycling
  • Sequester carbon
  • Enhance biodiversity and ecological resilience

 

 

2.2.    The NPC programme has two overarching objectives:

Objective 1 – Establish London as a National Park City

Objective 2 – Deliver a £9 million tree and park programme to contribute to increasing London’s green cover and tree cover. 

2.3.    These programme objectives support the aims (subject to consultation) as set out in the draft LES:  
•    Making more than half of London’s area green by 2050
•    Conserving and enhancing wildlife and natural habitats
•    Promoting and valuing London’s natural capital as an economic asset and developing the business case for investment in green infrastructure

2.4.    Additionally there are the following programme principals that underpin all activity:
•    Empowering communities to take part in environmental activities
•    Supporting boroughs to use their planning powers and land-management responsibilities to enhance and increase green infrastructure through tree planting; greening the built environment;  enhancing the amenity and function of parks and green spaces
•    Encouraging businesses to recognise and promote the economic benefit of greening the city
•    Aligning with, and complementing other Mayoral priorities , such as: improving air quality; creating healthy streets; providing good quality housing in liveable neighbourhoods; addressing inequalities (especially in health) and promoting social cohesion

2.5.    The long term outcomes that this programme is trying to realise are:
•    The conservation of our most special landscapes, habitats and species
•    The enhancement of natural processes for the benefit of London’s people and wildlife
•    A city with cleaner air that is better protected from flooding and overheating
•    Improved health for Londoners
•    A range of outdoor space for cultural, civic, learning and community activity, including productive landscapes
•    London being recognised as one of the greenest of the world’s big cities

2.6.    Objective 1 – Establish London as National Park City

Creating a National Park City requires not only the protection and management of existing assets (such as the network of parks, green spaces, wildlife habitats, street trees etc.) but investment in these assets to improve their quality and support a significant increase in the greening of the built environment to ensure all Londoners benefit from a green infrastructure that is extensive and accessible.  Consequently, a programme of policy and advocacy work is required to ensure that London as a NPC is a success and the benefits of such an approach can be realised.

2.7.    The NPC Policy and Advocacy Programme will: 
•    Highlight the value of green infrastructure for Londoners, London’s economy and London’s resilience in order to make the case for the long-term investment required to maintain, increase and enhance the city’s green infrastructure
•    Improve  the policy framework for protecting green infrastructure and ensuring green infrastructure is incorporated into the built environment
•    Support and influence those with primary responsibility for managing and maintaining green infrastructure to ensure they have the resources and tools they need to make London a National Park City
•    Create the platform upon which London (and other cities worldwide) can be declared a National Park City

Table 1 – Policy and Advocacy Detail and Budget 2017/18 

This table sets out the main elements of the work programme, overall costs and immediate expenditure related decisions:
 

Programme

Outputs

Capital (£000)

Revenue (£000)

National Park City Programme Policy and Advocacy

GiGL

 

Yearly service level agreement cost to support collation and management of London’s greenspace data.  This agreement is in year three of a three year contract.

0

20

London Green Spaces Commission

 

Support the establishment of a Green Space Commission to find new models for Green Space management.  This work will assess alternative business models to support boroughs to better manage and finance London’s green infrastructure.

 

Undertake research to support developing a baseline to understand the current status of borough greenspace services.

0

108

Horizon 2020 CLEVER

 

Support Stage 2 of CLEVER Cities Horizon 2020, a potential 12m euro project that aims to work with local communities and land-managers to develop locally-tailored approaches to delivering green infrastructure that highlights its social and economic benefits.

0

15

Research into alternative sources of funding

 

Undertake research into the opportunities for accessing funding for GI (e.g. philanthropic, private etc.) to help stakeholders tackle the shortage of greenspace funding.

 0

10

National Park City Programme Policy and Advocacy

Living Roofs and Walls report

 

Supporting the production of updated guidance document, to support the London Plan, on living roofs and walls.  This report will articulate the benefits of living roofs and walls, support new London Plan policy and help meet our 50% greening London target..

 0

10

All London Green Grid- Challenge Map development

 

Commissioning specialist technical support for the production of the new innovative interactive mapping tool to prioritise GI interventions and help to target funding at communities most in need.

 0

10

Staffing (G10 – delivery)

The establishment of a permanent G10 Policy and Programme Officer, already approved by the Head of Paid Service on 30 March 2017[1].

 0

65

Total (to be met from the GLA Environment Programme Budget)

 0

238

 


[1] https://www.london.gov.uk/moderngov/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=254&MId=6147&Ver=4

 

2.8.    Objective 2 – Deliver a £9 million tree and park programme to contribute to increasing London’s green cover and tree cover. 

The NPC delivery programme will support activities that will help to achieve the Mayor’s manifesto commitments and the GI policy objectives within the LES, contributing to a wide range of environmental benefits that enhance London’s natural environment. This £9m programme of work will publically showcase the Mayor’s commitment to greening the capital and embarking on a major tree planting programme.   These programmes will target areas where green infrastructure can deliver the greatest benefits, by using a new interactive tool, the All London Green Grid Challenge Map, to help focus programme delivery.

2.9.    The NPC delivery programme will:
•    Provide grants, advice and support to communities, boroughs, NGOs and businesses to help increase London’s green cover
•    Engage communities in tree planting schemes
•    Engage communities in greenspace improvement programme
•    Utilise a new interactive GIS tool to target funding at areas and communities that are most in need. 
•    Empower communities to take part in environmental projects
•    Enable Londoners to volunteer or take park in civic activities
•    Support businesses to green the public realm and plant trees
•    Collaborate with the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund to maximise green infrastructure opportunities
•    Support the aims and objectives of other Mayoral priorities such as: improving air quality; creating healthy streets; providing good quality housing in liveable neighbourhoods; addressing inequalities (especially in health) and promoting social cohesion


Table 2 - National Park City – Delivery Programme Detail and Budget

This table below sets out the main elements of the work programme, overall costs and immediate expenditure related decisions:
 

Programme

Outputs

Budget 2017/18 – 20/21

Capital

Revenue

Delivery Support Contract

Provide specialised community engagement advice and administrative grant management and support for the Mayor’s Green Space and Tree Programme.

£0

£140,000

Mayor’s Green Space Programme

This programme will support the creation or improvement of at least fifty spaces across London.  These spaces will include:

  • At least two strategically important sites to demonstrate and evaluate exemplar GI practice. 
  • At least 10 projects that will green the public realm or improve neglected or ecologically low value greenspaces.
  • At least forty projects designed and implemented by community groups.  These projects would target communities in areas of multiple deprivation, and aim to provide opportunities for community empowerment and social integration.

This programme will also include partnership work with Cross River Partnership and London’s Business Improvement Districts.

 

Yearly budget profile is set out in Table 3.

£2,940,000

£990,000

Mayor’s Tree Programme

This programme will support the planting and care of trees in London including:

 

  • Providing investment to at least 80 small and medium scale community tree planting projects in green spaces across London
  • Support for large woodland creation projects working with partner organisations to increase London’s urban forest
  • Developing a new online map to enable Londoners and businesses to sponsor public realm tree planting in their area
  • Providing support for policy and advocacy work, data and public engagement relating to London’s trees. Including match funding for partner HLF projects.

Yearly budget profile is set out in Table 3 below.

£0

£4,930,000

Total

 

£2,940,000

£6,060,000

 

Table 3 – Yearly Profile of National Park City Delivery Programme Budget

 

£000’s

 

Total

17/18

18/19

19/20

20/21

 

Cap

Rev

Cap

Rev

Cap

Rev

Cap

Rev

Cap

Rev

Delivery

Support

Contract

 0

140

 0

50

 0

45

 0

45

 0

0

Mayor’s

Greenspace

Programme

2940

990

0

30

1470

490

1470

330

0

140

Mayor’s

Trees

Programme

 0

4930

 0

850

0

1650

0

2175

0

255

Total

2940

6060

0

930

1470

2185

1470

2550

0

395

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Equality comments

3.1.    Under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010, as a public authority, the Mayor of London must have ‘due Regard’ of the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation as well as to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who have a protected characteristic and those who do not. 

3.2.    Gender Equality and Equal Opportunities are enshrined within the GLA’s programmes and activities according to the Mayor’s Framework for Equal Life Chances (June 2014) and the new Mayor’s forthcoming Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. The framework aims to bring Londoners together rather than dividing them. It promotes outcomes for a diverse range of communities that seek to bring real changes to the quality of life for all Londoners. The NPC Programme stems from the current work on the LES which is informed by a full Integrated Impact Assessment, which includes a consideration of equalities.

3.3.    As a result Environment programmes and projects look to maximise their positive impact on all Londoners. For the NPC programme this could include for example: increasing access to green space, contributing to urban cooling, reducing the health impact of air quality,

3.4.    Projects delivered through the Mayor’s NPC programme will aim to engage as many Londoners as possible to help to meet the needs of people sharing protected characteristics under Section 149 of the Equality Act 2010.  Grant assessment criteria will aim to deliver projects in deprived wards; engaging people with disabilities; engaging those over 60 and under the ages of 16; engaging with different population groups including those with protected characteristics.

3.5.    Grant application processes will require a statement about the organisations’ approach to equality and/or the submission of organisations’ equality policies.

3.6.    Recipients of funding will be required to outline how projects will provide environmental and community benefit. This includes information on the intended beneficiaries. They will be required to advertise their volunteering opportunities via Team London where appropriate.
 

Other considerations

4.1.    Key risks and issues

Risk

Likelihood

Impact

Mitigation

Concept of London as a National Park City is not understood

Medium

Medium

  • Creating well defined explanation of what London as a NPC would mean for key stakeholders
  • Work with communication officers to create clear narrative for Londoners and update website

Delivery programme Overspend

Low

High

  • Funding offers will be subject to execution of funding agreements capping GLA funding, payments of which  will be made on achievement of milestones (and evidence of associated expenditure) 
  • Match-funding will be  a requirement

Delivery programme Underspend

Medium

Medium

  • The funding will be offered in  a series of funding rounds, therefore providing opportunities for greater promotion or modification of grant criteria if necessary

Projects delivered are of a poor quality or are poorly maintained

Low

High

  • Funding or grant agreements will include clear milestones for payment
  • Project applications will be required to set out how schemes will be maintained
  • Project monitoring will include site visits to a proportion of projects to check on delivery

Insufficient projects identified

Low

Medium

  • Ongoing dialogue with partners and monitoring of applications to determine constraints

Lack of physical capacity for planting large number of trees

Low

Medium

  • Ongoing dialogue with partners, research to support site finding, and monitoring of applications to determine constraints

Public and partner buy-in

Low

Medium

  • The previous parks and tree programmes have been very popular
  • Early communication with partners regarding the programme of work

Grant scheme manager not secured in time

Low

Medium

  • Previous programmes have contracted an external partner to successfully manage the day to day operation of the grant programmes with the GLA maintaining a strong oversight on decisions.
  • A delivery partner will be contracted by summer 2017.

 

4.2.    Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

The National Park City Programme will contribute towards:
•    The efficient and effective delivery of Mayoral manifesto commitments  
•    The efficient and effective delivery of policies and targets in the London Plan and commitments in the forthcoming draft LES, specifically:
o    To protect, enhance and increase green areas in the city and ensure it is providing the green infrastructure services and benefits for a future London
o    To ensure no net loss of biodiversity and restore ecological connectivity by protecting a core network of nature conservation sites and improving the ecology of green spaces and the built environment 
o    To provide more coherent strategic co-ordination of London’s green infrastructure and new funding programmes to support project delivery.

4.3.    Impact Assessments and consultations

The draft LES, where much of the National Park City work programme has been drawn from, has been through a pre-consultation exercise and integrated impact assessments have been undertaken. A formal consultation will take place in summer 2017.
 

 

 

 

Financial comments

5.1    Mayoral approval is being sought to approve the funding of up to £9,000,000 to support the increase of London’s tree canopy and to improve London’s green spaces.  

5.2    It is proposed that the National Park City Delivery Programme will be profiled over four financial years.  The expenditure will be apportioned as follows from the Trees Environment Programme Budget; Capital £2,940,000 and Revenue £6,060,000.     
 

 

2017-18

2018-19

2018-19

2019-20

2019-20

2020-21

Total

 

Revenue

£000’

Capital

£000’

Revenue

£000’

Capital

£000’

Revenue

£000’

Revenue

£000’

£000’

Delivery

Support

Contact

50

 

45

 

45

 

140

Mayor’s

Greenspace

Programme

30

1,470

490

1,470

 

140

3,930

Mayor’s Tree

Programme

850

 

1,650

 

 

255

4,30

Total

930

1,470

2,185

1,470

2,550

395

9,000

 

5.3    As this programme of works involves funding agreements, officers are reminded to ensure that they liaise with both the Legal and Finance Teams in the preparation and execution of the agreements. In addition the award and monitoring of the funding and associated payments should be in line with the Authority’s Funding Agreement Toolkit.

5.4    Approval is also being sought for expenditure of up to £238,000 on Policy and Advocacy for the National Park City Programme.  This comprises of £66,000 for Grade 10 Policy and Programme Post, £63,000 for indirect costs and £110,000 for direct costs.  The programme will be funded from Urban Greening 2017-2018 Programme Budget.
 

Planned delivery approach and next steps

a.    Objective 1 - The NPC policy and programme activity will be delivered in 17/18 as part of the Green Infrastructure Team business plan. 

b.    Objective 2 - The NPC delivery programme will be delivered as set out below:

 

Activity

Timeline

Procurement of contract for green space and tree grant programme

delivery partner

July 2017

Announcement of NPC Programme

July 2017

Delivery Start Date Tree Grants – Round 1

August 2017-Feb 2018

Delivery Start Date Community Parks Grant  - Round 1

September 2017

Selection of Strategic Parks Programme

January 2018

Selection of GI projects via Good Growth Fund

March 2018/19

Tree Grants Round 2

June 2018 – Feb 2019

Large scale woodland creation projects

November 2018-Feb 2020

Community Parks Grants Round 2

March 2018

Tree Grants Round 3

June 2019-Feb 2020

Community Parks Grants Round 3

September 2018

Delivery End Date Parks

December 2019

Delivery End Date Trees

January 2020

Final evaluation

March 2020

Project Closure

March 2021

 

 


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