Building a home for the birds and the bees

26 January 2017
  • London’s biodiversity is being squeezed as planners and developers increase housing density in the capital.
  • Council planning departments have lost biodiversity experts in recent years, largely due to funding cuts.
  • Some developers do not see biodiversity as essential and avoid it completely due to perceptions of cost.


Leonie Cooper AM will tomorrow launch ‘At Home with Nature: Encouraging biodiversity in new housing developments’ on behalf of the London Assembly Housing Committee. The report makes recommendations to ensure new housing developments are designed and built to encourage biodiversity.


The recommendations include:

  • The creation of a Biodiversity in Housing supplementary planning guidance (SPG).
  • Amendments to the London Plan to include the wording ‘net gain’ to ensure biodiversity is enhanced and created, not just protected.
  • Implementing a London wide green space factor, similar to those in place in Berlin and Malmö, and pilot the scheme.


Author of the report for the Housing Committee, Leonie Cooper AM, said;

During this investigation, I have had the pleasure of seeing first-hand some fantastic new housing developments across London that have truly incorporated nature‎. We’ve gathered the evidence, seen how it can be done and now we want to see change. The report makes recommendations to the Mayor to ensure that London maintains and improves on its current levels of biodiversity, even as the population continues to grow and the demand for new housing intensifies.”



The report will be launched at One Tower Bridge, a new housing development which has introduced successful measures to enhance biodiversity. Developers, Berkeley Group, partnered with Bermondsey Street Bees, a local honey producer, to install four bee hives on the roof of the development. Offsite planting to provide forage for bees all year round was also incorporated. Honey harvested from the bees is being supplied to local restaurants and residents.

The launch will include short presentations from the London Assembly, Bermondsey Street Bees and Berkeley Homes; and a tour of the viewing platform at One Tower Bridge, where the bee hives can be observed.



  • Leonie Cooper AM, Housing Committee Member
  • Dale Gibson, Urban Bee Keeper, Bermondsey Street Bees
  • Harry Lewis, MD, Berkeley Homes (South East London) Ltd
  • A resident of One Tower Bridge

Date: Thursday 26 January
Time: 9:00am-10:00am
Location: One Tower Bridge, Tower Bridge, SE1 2AA
Nearest station: London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern lines), Tower Hill (District and Circle lines)

Notes to editors

  1. At Home with Nature: Encouraging biodiversity in new housing developments’ report.
  2. Leonie Cooper AM, Housing Committee Member, is available for interview – see contact details below.
  3. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.


For media enquiries, please contact Mary Dolan on 020 7983 4603.  For out of hours media enquiries, call 020 7983 4000 and ask for the London Assembly duty press officerNon-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit on 020 7983 4100.