Policy 2.18 Green Infrastructure



A  The Mayor will work with all relevant strategic partners to protect, promote, expand and manage the extent and quality of, and access to, London’s network of green infrastructure. This multifunctional network will secure benefits including, but not limited to, biodiversity; natural and historic landscapes; culture; building a sense of place; the economy; sport; recreation; local food production; mitigating and adapting to climate change; water management; and the social benefits that promote individual and community health and well-being.

B  The Mayor will pursue the delivery of green infrastructure by working in partnership with all relevant bodies, including across London’s boundaries, as with the Green Arc Partnerships and Lee Valley Regional Park Authority. The Mayor has published supplementary guidance on the All London Green Grid to set out the strategic objectives and priorities for green infrastructure across London.

C  In areas of deficiency for regional and metropolitan parks, opportunities for the creation of green infrastructure to help address this deficiency should be identified and their implementation should be supported, such as in the Wandle Valley Regional Park[1].

Planning decisions

D  Enhancements to London’s green infrastructure should be sought from development and where a proposal falls within a regional or metropolitan park deficiency area (broadly corresponding to the areas identified as “regional park opportunities” on Map 2.8), it should contribute to addressing this need.

Map 2.8 London's strategic open space network

Map 2.8 London's strategic open space network

E  Development proposals should:

a   incorporate appropriate elements of green infrastructure that are integrated into the wider network

b   encourage the linkage of green infrastructure including the Blue Ribbon Network, to the wider public realm to improve accessibility for all and develop new links, utilising green chains, street trees, and other components of urban greening (Policy 5.10).

LDF preparation

F  Boroughs should:

a   set out a strategic approach to planning positively for the creation, protection, enhancement and management of networks of green infrastructure by producing green infrastructure strategies[2] that cover all forms of green and open space and the interrelationship between these spaces. These should identify priorities for addressing deficiencies and should set out positive measures for the design and management of all forms of green and open space. Delivery of local biodiversity action plans should be linked to these strategies.

b   ensure that in and through DPD policies, green infrastructure needs are planned and managed to realise the current and potential value of these to communities and to support delivery of the widest range of linked environmental and social benefits

c   in London’s urban fringe support, through appropriate initiatives, the vision of creating and protecting an extensive and valued recreational landscape of well-connected and accessible countryside around London for both people and wildlife[3].

[1]     EDAW Ltd. London Strategic Parks Project. GLA, 2004

[2]     CLG. National Planning Policy Framework, paragraph 114. Mayor of London/CABE Space. Open Space Strategies Best Practice Guidance. GLA, 2009

[3]     Land Use Consultants. Bringing the Outdoors Closer to People. Improving the countryside round London: The Green Arc Approach. Green Arc Steering Group, 2004

Supporting text

2.86  In a dense conurbation like London, the network of green and open spaces has to be increasingly multi-functional. The term green infrastructure refers to the network of all green and open spaces together with the Blue Ribbon Network (see policies 7.24, 7.25, 7.26, 7.27, 7.28, 7.29 and 7.30) that provides multiple benefits to Londoners (see Glossary). It functions best when designed and managed as an interdependent ‘green grid’ where the network should be actively managed and promoted to support the myriad functions it performs[1]. All development takes place within a wider environment and green infrastructure should be seen as an integral element and not as an ‘add-on’. Its value is evident across all of London and at all scales and the Mayor wishes to see the network maintained and enhanced and gaps between parts of the network closed.

2.87  The East London Green Grid set the sub regional framework[2] for the enhancement of and integration of green infrastructure. The All London Green Grid SPG and the supporting area frameworks have extended this approach to green infrastructure across London and taken together with policies 7.14 to 7.15 this approach is consistent with the NPPF requirement (para 109) to recognise the wider benefits of ecosystems services. It also complements the Green Arc Initiative that aims to improve access to, and the quality of, the countryside around London. The Mayor, working with the boroughs, the London Parks and Green Spaces Forum, The Royal Parks and other key stakeholders (including, where appropriate, those outside London), will support the extension of this approach across London. An example of this cross boundary working will be the Greater Thames Marshes, a Nature Improvement Area.

2.88   Green infrastructure is an overarching term for a number of discrete elements (parks, street trees, green roofs etc.) that go to make up a functional network of green spaces and green features. These are important in their own right but, by considering their design and management together they can deliver benefits that are greater than the sum of their parts. These benefits include, but are not limited to:

  • making a positive contribution to climate change by adapting to and mitigating its impact (see Policies 5.9, 5.10 and 5.11, 7.16, 7.177.18 and 7.21)
  • improving water quality, flood mitigation and reduced flood risk through sustainable urban drainage systems (see Policies 5.12, 5.13 and 7.21)
  • promoting walking and cycling (see Policies 6.9 and 6.10)
  • creating a sense of place and opportunities for greater appreciation of the landscape and cultural heritage (see Policies 7.4, 7.5, 7.8 and 7.20)
  • as a place for local food production, in line with the Mayor’s Capital Growth strategy (see Policies 7.16, 7.17, 7.18 and 7.22)
  • as a place for outdoor education and children’s play (see Policies 3.6, 7.16, 7.17 and 7.18).
  • protection and enhancement of biodiversity, including mitigation of new development (see Policy 7.19)
  • increasing recreational opportunities, access to and enjoyment of open space and the Blue Ribbon Network to promote healthy living (see Policies 7.16,, 7.25, 7.26, 7.27 7.28, 7.29 and 7.30)

2.89   Green Infrastructure strategies are a key element in promoting and enhancing and ensuring effective design and management of London’s network of open spaces. These need to be kept under review by Boroughs and action plans produced to ensure that the strategies are implemented. These action plans should be used proactively in developing LDD policy, masterplanning and identifying opportunities provided by development applications (Policy 7.18). The Mayor has published best practice guidance on the preparation of open space strategies jointly with CABE Space[3]and this guidance will be reviewed to address the wider issues of developing green infrastructure strategies.

Map 2.8 London’s strategic open space network

[1]    see Natural England’s ‘Accessible Natural Greenspace Standards’ (ANGST)

[2]    Mayor Of London. East London Green Grid Framework. London Plan Supplementary Planning Guidance. GLA, 2008

[3]    Mayor of London/CABE Space. 2009 op cit

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