MD2285 National Park City Programme - 2018 to 2021

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Code: 
MD2285
Date signed: 
22 May 2018
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

The Mayor is committed to making London the first National Park City. This an overarching ambition that encompasses the Mayor’s objectives to: protect and enhance London’s green spaces and biodiversity; increase tree cover; encourage the greening of the built environment to make the city more resilient; and, provide more Londoners with better access to green space and nature to improve health and well-being. Full details are set out in the London Environment Strategy (LES).

The Mayor approved (under cover of MD2141) the planned delivery of his objectives through a National Park City programme comprising policy and advocacy projects and a programme of tree planting and green space enhancement.

This decision form provides an update and seeks approval of additional expenditure and a delegation for the receipt and expenditure of any third-party funding that may be leveraged in respect of the National Park City programme.

Decision

The Mayor approves:

• additional expenditure of £3m on the implementation of the National Park City delivery programme in accordance with the details set out in the main body of this report (total expenditure being £12m, £9m having been approved by MD2141);

• additional expenditure of £519,000 over the period 2018/19-2020/21 on the continued delivery of the National Park City policy and advocacy programme (total expenditure being £757,000, £238k having been approved for 2017/18 by MD2141); and

• a delegation to the Executive Director of Development & Environment to approve receipt and expenditure of external funding as may be secured, including commercial sponsorship, to support delivery of the National Park City Programme

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

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.

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 of liveable cities thereby attracting inward investment creating jobs and growth. This MD sets out the proposed programme and associated expenditure that will deliver the Mayor’s commitment to make London a National Park City (NPC).

The 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 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
• Delivery – through projects that are the tangible manifestations of policy and advocacy

This Mayoral Decision (MD) provides an update on the detail set out in MD2141, under cover of which the Mayor approved: expenditure of £9m for the period 2017/18 to 2020/21 to fund tree planting and green space enhancement; and £238,000 for 2017/18 to fund National Park City policy and advocacy projects.

The allocation of additional budget of £3m for 2018/19 was approved by the Mayor under cover of MD2268 as part of the approval of the detailed allocation of the component budget for 2018/19.

Objectives and expected outcomes
  1. The NPC programme will promote the benefits of green infrastructure (see definition in box below) and demonstrate that this approach is vital to ensure London is a city that protects its natural assets, provides outdoor space for health and well-being and harnesses nature-based solutions to ensure the city is resilient to the impacts of climate change.

 

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

 

  • The NPC programme has two overarching objectives:
  • Objective 1 – Establish London as a National Park City through creating a supportive policy framework
  • Objective 2 – Demonstrate the tangible delivery of the National Park City ambition through direct funding of tree-planting, green space enhancements and public engagement activities

 

  • It supports the green infrastructure and natural environment objectives of LES, which are: 
  • 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

 

  • Additionally, the activities and expenditure outlined below aim to provide the tools needed to:
  • Empower communities to take part in environmental activities
  • Support boroughs to use their planning powers and land-management responsibilities to enhance and increase green infrastructure through tree planting; greening the built environment; and enhancing the amenity and function of parks and green spaces
  • Encourage businesses to recognise and promote the economic benefits of greening the city
  • Align with, and complement other Mayoral priorities, set out in the LES and other strategies, such as: improving air quality; creating healthy streets; providing good quality housing in liveable neighbourhoods; addressing inequalities (especially in health) and promoting social cohesion

 

Objective 1 – Establish London as National Park City through creating a supportive policy framework.

 

  1. 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 number policy and advocacy projects are required to ensure that the NPC is a success and the benefits of such an approach can be realised.

 

  • The NPC policy and advocacy projects 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 planning 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
  • Explore external funding opportunities, including commercial sponsorship, to provide additional funding to support project delivery (particularly for the National Park City delivery and engagement projects, the Green Spaces Commission pilot projects and organising the National Park City Summit in 2019)

 

  • Investment in NPC policy and advocacy projects during 2017/18 has already resulted in:
  • Proposed policies in the draft new London Plan being strengthened to protect the Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land, and to maintain and increase green infrastructure in new development through use of an Urban Greening Factor, and provisions to ensure no net loss green cover on small sites
  • Research that has demonstrated London’s public green spaces provide services valued at £5 billion per year, and that for each £1 spent by local authorities on green spaces Londoners enjoy at least £27 in value
  • Proposals to establish a Green Spaces Commission in 2018 to help boroughs transform their services and explore new ways to secure resources to maintain parks and green spaces
  • The first National Park City Week being held in 2018 as demonstration of one of the key criteria for London being confirmed as a National Park a City in 2019.
  • £2.2m being secured through EU Horizon 2020 funding to deliver GI improvements on Peabody estate in Thamesmead.  Starting in June 2018 the project will test new ways of integrating green infrastructure into regeneration projects in ways that work with and engage residents
  • The preparation of a green infrastructure ‘focus map’ to help decision-makers identify potential opportunities to deliver greening to address a number of objectives including improving health, improving air quality and mitigating the impacts of climate change

 

  1. The proposed activities and investment in NPC policy and advocacy projects for the period 2018/19 – 2020/21 are shown in Table 1. These will support and enable the implementation of the green infrastructure and natural environment policies and proposals in the London Environment Strategy.

 

Table 1 – National Park City - Policy and Advocacy Projects Budget 2018/19 – 2020/21

[NB This table includes the main elements of the policy and advocacy work, set out under broad outputs, highlighting overall costs and related expenditure for the next three years.]

 

Programme

Outputs

Budget 2018/19 – 20/21

Capital (£000)

Revenue

(£000)

London Green Spaces Commission

 

The establishment of a Green Space Commission to explore new models and approaches to the management and maintenance of public parks and green space. The work of the commission will include:

  • Assessment of different business models for a traditional parks service
  • Investigation of new approaches to structure and governance of a traditional parks service
  • Pilot projects with boroughs to test new approaches

0

150

National Park City research and policy development

 

The preparation of advice and information (including update of All London Green Grid; guidance on urban greening; and conservation of priority habitats and species) and additional research to underpin policy ambitions (including updates to the Green Infrastructure Focus Map and analysis of green cover).

0

279

National Park City Stakeholder Engagement

Including preparatory work for National Park City summit in summer 2019.

 

0

30

Data management

 

Annual service level agreement with Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) to support the collation and management of London’s greenspace data.

0

 

60

Total

 

0

 

 

519

 

Objective 2 – Demonstrate the tangible delivery of the National Park City ambition through direct funding of tree-planting and green space enhancements.

 

  1. Making London a National Park City also requires direct investment into improving the extent, quality and function of London’s green spaces. Although direct delivery is primarily the responsibility of the boroughs and other owners and managers of land, the Mayor has a role in catalysing activity and providing funds to support projects that encourage community action and deliver exemplar projects that demonstrate the Mayor’s vision of a National Park City. Consequently, the NPC delivery programme supports activities that will help to achieve the Mayor’s manifesto commitment to embark on a tree-planting programme and to improve green spaces to increase access to nature and enhance biodiversity. Delivery will be targeted towards areas where green infrastructure can deliver the greatest benefits for Londoners.

 

  • The NPC delivery programme will:
  • Provide grants, advice and support to communities, boroughs, NGOs and businesses to help increase and improve London’s green spaces and tree cover
  • Engage communities in tree planting schemes, including providing free trees
  • Engage communities in green space improvement programmes
  • Empower communities to take part in environmental projects and visit green spaces
  • Enable Londoners to volunteer, find local community tree planting or greening activities, or take part in civic activities
  • Support businesses to green the public realm and plant trees

​​​​​​​The NPC delivery programme will also explore commercial sponsorship opportunities to provide additional revenue funding to support the objectives of increasing tree planting in London and enabling communities to create and improve green space. Any sponsorship would allow the programme to fund additional projects or planting. For example, sponsorship could be enable additional free trees to be provided for mass tree planting activities in December 2018 (requiring c. £50k-£100k). On a larger scale, research has estimated that over £5m is required to plant up vacant street tree pits in London. The Mayor’s Tree Programme currently includes an allocation of £1m towards setting up a new online sponsorship mechanism and providing some match funding for public realm tree planting in 2019/20 and 2020/21, with the aim of increasing support from Londoners and businesses. Sponsors are not yet secured for these projects, but any additional revenue raised is unlikely to exceed £1m and would be spent by March 2021.

​​​​​​​This MD also provides an update on the proposals and details of expenditure set out in MD2141. It is required because of an additional allocation of £3m for tree-planting and green space projects for 2018/19. It is proposed to use the additional £3m to support the Mayor’s Green Spaces Programme, in particular the Community Green Spaces Grants which had very high demand in the first round, and the new National Park City community events and activities strand which includes engaging Londoners in tree planting.  This funding will also cover the costs of a new G8 fixed term post (18 months) to support the delivery of the National Park City community events and activities strand.

​​​​​​​Investment in NPC delivery projects during 2017/18 has already resulted in:

  • The allocation of £1.1m to support 55 community led projects to increase access to and improve the quality of community greenspace including 14 school projects and will engage 8,000 children.
  • The allocation of £800,000 to add value to 9 projects funded through the Good Growth Fund to increase greening of the built environment.
  • The allocation of £2m to enhance up to 6 strategically important parks and green spaces.
  • The allocation of £400,000 to support 27 community tree planting projects resulting in over 28,000 trees being planted.

 

​​​​​​​The proposed activities and investment in the NPC delivery programme for the period 2017/18 – 2020/21 are shown in Table 2. This sets out the planned expenditure of the £12m budget. This includes 2017/18 expenditure so that it can be compared to the £9m budget approved in MD2141. A total of £531,000 (revenue) was spent on the National Park City delivery programme in 2017/18 across a number of budget lines.  A more detailed profile of expenditure is set out in Table 3, including a breakdown of the £531,000 spent in 2017/18

 

Table 2 - National Park City – Delivery Programme Projects and Budget 2017/18 – 2020/21

[NB This table below sets out the main elements of the work programme, overall costs and related expenditure for the period 2017/18 to 2020/21].

 

Programme

Outputs

Revised Budget 2017/18 – 2020/21

 

Budget approved in MD 2141 for 2017/18-2020/21

Capital

(£000)

Revenue

(£000)

Capital

(£000)

Revenue

(£000)

Delivery Support Contract

Provide specialised community engagement advice and administrative grant management and support for the Mayor’s Community Green Space and Tree Planting Grants Programme. Call-off contract already in place with Groundwork London until March 2020.

The additional budget reflects the increased administration required for the revised budget and higher number of projects in the Community Green Space Grants and making provision for administering an additional round of these grants in 2020/21.

0

216

0

140

Mayor’s Green Space Programme

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

  • At least six strategically important sites to demonstrate and evaluate exemplar GI practice through the Green Capital Grants [all capital budget]
  • Around 150 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, through three rounds of Community Green Space Grants. This will include supporting greening measures to address AQ issues in schools.  The first round of funding already awarded supported 54 projects which are being implemented during 2018. These projects aim to improve 130,000 m2 of green and blue space, and engage 8,000 children and 4,000 adult volunteers. Similar outputs can be expected in the two future rounds. [NB this is all revenue budget].

This has increased from a suggested 40 projects in MD2141. Yearly budget profile is set out in Table 3.

2,135

3,275

2,940[1]

990

Green space funded via Good Growth Fund

Seven large scale projects that will green the public realm through working in collaboration with the Good Growth Fund. This budget will be managed by the Regeneration Team, and specific green infrastructure outputs (m2 greening improved and created) and milestones are being included in funding agreements. The revenue funding is supporting green infrastructure feasibility and audit work on two further projects which are at an earlier stage.

805

20

0[2]

0

 

 

Mayor’s Tree Programme

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

  • Provide investment to at least 80 small and medium scale community tree planting projects in green spaces across London through three rounds of Community Tree Planting Grants, planting around 20,000-40,000 trees per year. There were 27 projects supported in round one, as well as free community tree packs, resulting in 25,000 trees planted in 2017/18.
  • Support for large woodland creation project(s) working with partner organisations to increase London’s urban forest
  • Develop new ways to enable Londoners and businesses to sponsor public realm tree planting in their area
  • Provide support for policy and advocacy work, data, partnership and cross-borough projects and public engagement relating to London’s trees

Yearly budget profile is set out in Table 3 below.

0

4,549[3]

0

4,930

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

National Park City community events and activities

This programme will support a range of public engagement in London’s outdoors in the run up to, and around the declaration of London as a National Park City, including:

  • Co-ordinating National Park City Week (NPCW) 2018, 2019, and collating and promoting the event listings
  • Supporting events, activities and providing materials during NPCW which encourage Londoners to help make the city greener
  • Organising mass tree planting activities in December 2018 involving thousands of Londoners in planting thousands of trees. Including: new website tools to enable Londoners to register for events, request trees to plant, record trees planted; promoting events
  • Providing additional grant funding for mass tree planting activities, free community tree packs and additional resources and materials to encourage tree planting

0

1,000

0

0

 

Total

 

2,940

 

9,060

 

2,940

 

6,060

 

 

 

 

 

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

[NB This budget updates the expenditure profile of the original £9m budget agreed in MD2141. The capital total remains the same as approved via MD2141. The Revenue budget increases overall by £3m].

 

£000’s

 

Total

17/18 (Actual expenditure)

18/19

19/20

20/21

 

Cap

Rev

Cap

Rev

Cap

Rev

Cap

Rev

Cap

Rev

Delivery

Support

Contract

 0

216

 0

36

 0

60

 0

60

 0

60

Mayor’s

Green space

Programme

2135

3275

0

35

589

1100

1546

1100

0

1040

Green space funded via Good Growth Fund

805

20

0

0

215

20

590

0

0

0

Mayor’s

Trees

Programme

 0

4549

 0

460

0

949

0

2740

0

400

National Park City community activity

0

1000

0

0

0

500

0

500

0

0

Total

2940

9060

0

531

804

2629

2136

4400

0

1500

 

 


[1] Good Growth Fund Projects were included in this budget line but are now separated out.

[2] Included in Green space total above previously.

[3] Tree planting will also be funded via the new NPC events budget.

Equality comments

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.

The NPC programme outlined in this MD stems from the policies and proposals in the LES which has been informed by a full Integrated Impact Assessment, including a consideration of equalities.

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, and reducing the health impact of air quality.

Projects delivered through the NPC delivery programme will continue 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.

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

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

Key risks and issues

 

​​​​​​​The key risks and issues are set out in Table 4 below.

 

Risk

Likelihood

Impact

Mitigation

Concept of London as a National Park City is not understood

Medium

Medium

  • Providing a well-defined explanation of what London as a NPC would mean for key stakeholders
  • Create clear narrative for Londoners

Insufficient buy-in to the Green Spaces Commission by boroughs

Low

Medium

  • Establishment of the Commission was signalled in the draft LES. No adverse comments from key stakeholders
  • Support for the Commission has been secured from London Councils Transport and Environment Committee as boroughs are the most likely affected stakeholder

Delivery programme Overspend

Low

High

  • Funding offers will be subject to execution of funding agreements capping GLA funding, o 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
  • Budget allocation for future grant rounds can increase if needed, and additional grant rounds can run if needed

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 to create woodlands

Medium

Medium

  • Ongoing dialogue with partners, research to support site finding

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

 

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities

 

​​​​​​​The National Park City programme will contribute towards:

  • The efficient and effective delivery of policies and proposals in the London Environment Strategy, specifically:
    • To protect, enhance and increase green areas in the city to provide green infrastructure services and benefits London needs now and in the future
    • To protect conserve and enhance the landscape and cultural value of London’s green infrastructure
    • To protect a core network of nature conservation sites and ensure a net gain in biodiversity
    • To address underinvestment, and improve the management of London’s green infrastructure, by developing new business models and improving the awareness of the benefits of London’s green infrastructure
  • The efficient and effective delivery of policies in the new London Plan including: Green Infrastructure, Biodiversity and Access to Nature, Urban Greening, and Trees and Woodlands.
  • Delivery of the Mayor’s manifesto commitments including:
  • Make London the first ‘National Park City’ – setting a long-term target to make more than 50 per cent of our city green.
  • Protect wildlife and biodiversity by creating green corridors through the city.
  • Embark on a major tree-planting programme across London, in partnership with businesses and the public sector, with a focus on schools and colleges.
  • Strengthen protections for open spaces within the London Plan, including playing fields, Metropolitan Open Land, and our Sites of Importance for Local Nature Conservation and nature reserves.
Financial comments

Mayoral approval is being sought to approve the expenditure of up to £12m to support the increase of London’s tree canopy and to improve London’s green spaces. This MD is an update to MD2141 that approved expenditure of £9m (£2,940,000 capital and £6,060,000 revenue budget) from 2017-18 to 2020-21. Since then the programme has received an additional £3m revenue budget and there has been some revision to the profile spend of the £9m.

This MD also seeks approval to spend an additional £519,000 revenue budget over the period of 2018-19 to 2020-21 to continue the delivery of the National Park City policy and advocacy programme (£173,000 per annum). This is to be funded from the Urban Greening programme revenue budget agreed as part of the 2018-19 budget setting process.

As detailed on Table 3 (Section 2) above it is proposed that the National Park City Delivery Programme will be reprofiled over 4 financial years (2017-18 to 2020-21). The expenditure will be apportioned as shown in Table 3 from the National Park City programme budget; Capital £2,940,000 and Revenue £9,060,000.

The programme is expecting to receive external funding detailed under paragraph 2.11. Currently the amount of external funding and who this may be from is unknown. Further approval will be sought via the Authority’s decision-making process (via a decision form) when more information about the income and expenditure is available.

Activity table
  1. Objective 1 - The NPC policy and advocacy programme will be delivered as set out below.

 

Activity

Timeline

Recruitment of Green Space Commissioners

June/July 2018

Commencement of Horizon 2020 CLEVER Cities project

June 2018

Publication of updated priority habitats and species

Summer 2018

Publication of Green Infrastructure Focus Map

Summer 2018

Publish new research into assessing green cover

Summer 2018

Deliver first National Park City Week

July 2018

Green Space Commission established

Autumn 2018

Scoping of All London Green Grid review

Autumn 2018

Green Space Commission meetings

Autumn 2018 -Autumn 2019

Prepare and publish Urban Forest Plan for London

Summer 2019

Declare London a National Park City at international summit

Summer 2019

Develop and deliver campaign and toolkit to promote environmental improvement of gardens

2019

Produce and publish guidance on improving the ecological value of parks and green space

2019

Produce a biodiversity net gain approach for London

2019

Research and explore options for improving environmental outcomes in the Green Belt

2019

Publication of Green Space Commission report and recommendations

Winter 2019

 

 

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

 

Activity

Timeline

Community Green Space Grant projects – Round 1. Projects happen

January-December 2018

Green Capital Grants - Awarded

May 2018

Green Capital Grants – projects happen

June 2018-December 2019

Community Tree Planting Grants – Round 2. Projects happen

November 2018 – March 2019

Large scale tree planting events

December 2018

Community Green Space Grant projects – Round 2. Projects happen

January-December 2019

Community Tree Planting Grants – Round 3. Projects happen

November 2019 – March 2020

Large scale woodland creation project

November 2019-Feb 2021

Community Green Space Grant projects – Round 3. Projects happen

January-December 2020

Green Capital Projects monitoring and evaluation

January-June 2020

Community Grant Schemes monitoring and evaluation

January-March 2021

Delivery End Date Green Spaces

January 2021

Delivery End Date Trees

March 2021

Project Closure

March 2021


Share this page