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10th May 2019

London 2019 Living Roofs and Walls Report

A report on green infrastructure in the urban environment has been launched by the Deputy Mayor of London, who expressed her delight in being able to “witness the patchwork of green roofs and walls spreading across London’s skyline.” 

Titled, ‘Living Roofs and Walls from policy to practice: 10 years of urban greening in London and beyond’, this report effectively summarises the progress that has been made in the mainstreaming of living walls and green roofs in response to the climate and environmental challenges we now face.  It also highlights how policy has developed in London (and elsewhere) and covers the benefits of green roofs, backed further by recent research findings.

The aim of this report is to “encourage more urban greening to ensure the urban environment becomes greener, healthier and more resilient to the impacts of climate change.”

Since the Living Roofs and Walls Policy was introduced into the London Plan in 2008, there has been a clear drive in the uptake of urban greening in London – specifically living walls and roofs – over the last decade.  This is made clear in the evidence set out in the report, with green roofs covering 1.5 million m2 across London alone.  That’s higher than many other cities in the world which are famed for their green roofs.  The success of this policy in London is clear with 42% of the total UK green roof market now sitting in London, a figure achieved primarily through planning processes.  Interestingly, the report details that unlike many other cities around the world, London does not provide financial incentives.

Setting out the positive impact green infrastructure has on the urban environment in terms of biodiversity, sustainable water management and general health and wellbeing, the report recognises that whilst the benefits were understood in 2008, we now have access to a large amount of evidence that allows us to pin real data to these statements.

The benefits are explored in more detail under the following categories:

  • Surface water management
  • Urban cooling
  • Biodiversity
  • Air quality
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Noise reduction
  • Potential for carbon sequestration

The report thoroughly reviews the benefits of these solutions, global policies, the success since the first launch of the London Plan in 2008 and how we can apply what we’ve learnt so far to continue evolve in the application of green infrastructure in the urban environment.  Included in the report are also 17 key case studies of living walls and green roofs in the London area.

Authored by Dusty Gedge and Gary Grant of The Green Infrastructure Consultancy Ltd (GIC), this report is a significant step forward in the knowledge and application of urban greening in the built environment.