Mayor delivers £1.1m grants to help transform & create green spaces
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has awarded £1.1 million to community projects across the capital to help them improve and create new local green spaces, including a community garden next to a school relocated following the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, and an area to test new garden designs improving air quality near his next Low Emission Bus Zone.
After unprecedented demand from local groups, Sadiq has provided almost three times his original budget for this first year of the Community Green Space Grants, with 55 projects across 23 boroughs receiving between £5,000 and £50,000 through his Greener City Fund. The Mayor’s funding will be matched by an additional £2.8 million from the projects themselves, as well as other public, private and charitable funders.
The grants aim to give Londoners the chance to create new and improved green spaces in their local area, as Sadiq continues to work towards his manifesto commitment of making London the first National Park City, with more than half of the capital green by 2050.
Sadiq’s draft London Plan, published in November, highlighted the importance of creating new, accessible green open space, particularly in areas where this access is lacking. Some 60 per cent of the projects receiving grants are in areas with poor access to green space, and include improving parks, designing new green spaces, greening school playgrounds, tree planting, installing sustainable drainage and restoring waterways. They all contribute to making London a greener, healthier city and will involve 8,000 children and 14 schools, resulting in 130,000 square metres of green space, as well as rivers, canals and lakes, being improved (or 13 hectares, the equivalent of 18 football pitches).
Projects receiving grant funding include:
- Woodmans Mews Community Garden - This community garden is next to the temporary site of Kensington Aldridge Academy, which was relocated following the Grenfell Tower fire. It will be revitalised, with new planting, social seating and eating areas, and natural play areas aiming to create a tranquil space for enjoyment and relaxation for both school students and local residents.
- R-Urban Poplar Community Garden - R-Urban Poplar Community Garden - This new garden will be created in Tower Hamlets at alongside the R-Urban Poplar, an environmental community project in a heavily polluted area with little accessible green space near the Mayor’s next planned Low Emission Bus Zone. The garden will include an outdoor classroom and food growing space, and act as a testing ground for new garden design to improve local air quality, including landscaping, onsite structures, planting combinations and positioning of plants.
- De Beauvoir Estate Garden Allotments (Hackney) - This community-led project, run by the De Beauvoir Estate Tenants Residents Association, will reclaim an area of underused green space for the benefit of estate residents by creating raised-bed allotments, herb gardens and a wildflower meadow. The project is accessible to all residents including young families, and is led by volunteers.
These projects build on Sadiq Khan’s hard-hitting measures to tackle the capital’s filthy air, including bringing in the Toxicity Charge (T-Charge) for older, dirtier cars in central London and targeting the most polluted bus routes by delivering the first two in a series of Low Emission Bus Zones. Earlier this week, the Mayor announced that for the first time since modern records began, London was entering the third week of January without having breached legal limits for toxic nitrogen dioxide (NO2) air pollution – an improvement which can be partly attributed to his tough action.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Communities are crying out for high quality green space in their local areas, and I have listened to their great ideas. Whether it’s designing a new garden, planting trees or greening school playgrounds, these projects will transform local spaces, improve health and wellbeing and help clean up our toxic air – and young Londoners are getting involved too. I want London to become the UK’s first National Park City, with more than half the capital green by 2050 – and we’re already delivering. It’s vital that, as our capital continues to grow, all Londoners have access to open, green areas, and these projects will help make our city a greener, healthier place to live.”
Sadiq has also committed to protecting London’s Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land, and his draft London Plan, published last November, includes measures to increase green cover. It also outlines how a new Green Space Factor toolkit will enable boroughs to secure new green spaces, trees and green roofs seek locally-appropriate green infrastructure from new development, and includes strengthened measures on air quality, such as ensuring new developments do not increase air pollution. In addition, the Mayor’s Healthy Streets Approach is making streets greener by planting trees, creating rain gardens and de-paving.
Cathy Maund, Director of the Hammersmith Community Gardens Association, said: “We were delighted to be awarded funding to work with residents to make over Woodmans Mews Community Garden. We only 'discovered' this garden last September when we were approached by a local resident for advice on how we could help them improve this neglected space. The site has huge potential and we can't wait to get started. We will be harnessing the enthusiasm of residents and corporate volunteers to realise the project. We would like to thank The Mayor, LBHF Mace Group and Rider Levett Bucknall for their support.”
This is the first round of funding for the Community Green Space Grants. Further funding rounds for these grants and the Community Tree Planting Grant Scheme will be announced later this year. Applications are open until 19 February 2018 for larger projects to apply for the Mayor’s £2m Green Capital Grants Scheme.
Notes to editors
- Details of projects can be found on the Greener City Map: www.london.gov.uk/greener-city
- Boroughs benefitting from the funding are: Barking & Dagenham, Barnet, Bexley, Brent, Bromley, Camden, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Haringey, Islington, Kensington & Chelsea, Lambeth, Lewisham, Newham, Richmond upon Thames, Southwark, Sutton, Tower Hamlets, Waltham Forest, Wandsworth, Westminster.
- The Greener City Fund includes:
- Green Capital: £3 million to support strategic green space improvements that will bring multiple environmental benefits. For example, river restoration in parks which could provide flood water storage, new habitats for wildlife and improved space for play. Funding will also be provided for environmental improvements as part of the Mayor’s Good Growth Fund projects
- London’s urban forest: £3 million to help create new woodlands, pilot new approaches to tree planting in public space, improve data about London’s trees and support London-wide projects
- Community Tree Planting and Green Space grants: £3 million to help Londoners plant trees and make London greener. Applications for future rounds of funding will open in 2018.
- For more information on the Mayor’s Green Capital Grants scheme, visit https://www.london.gov.uk/sites/default/files/green_capital_grants_guide_nov_2017.pdf