One of the first proposals for a series of developments to meet new green measures in London is a biodiverse training facility at Wimbledon, a green-walled skyscraper located in the City of London, and a densely planted mini-forest in Chelsea.
New planning metrics created by Mayor Sadiq Khans have seen skyscrapers, historic estates, and suburban parks throughout the capital adding up to greenery. London PlanThese are meant to increase the environment’s contribution.
The Urban Greening Factor, a formula inspired by the Swedish city Malms green points system scores each part of a development plan from 0-1. Trees, planters, and green roofs earn high scores while paving slabs, barren rooftops, receive no score. The Environment Act 2021, which is a central government law, has plans to make development deliver a boost to biodiversity. It will require a 10% biodiversity net increase.
Craig Robertson, head sustainability at AHMM architects, stated that the Urban Greening Factor is a significant step-change in how green stuff was put on buildings. Even urban centres will have to achieve a UGF score 0.4, which is equivalent to turning 40% off their footprints over into nature. Robertson stated that biodiversity net gains will represent another significant shift. This will force developers to take into account the ecological and vegetation benefits to their surroundings. It’s very difficult, but it can be done in a positive manner. It’s a great challenge.
Although critics have called for urgent revisions of the current formula, biodiversity net gains, which will be required by planning law starting in 2023, use a complex algorithm that accounts for nature losses and gain.
Even though some London boroughs have yet to adopt UGF measures, it was required by the Greater London Authority (GLA), which means that all major developments in the capital must now calculate their score. A draft guidance document has been created to assist developers and boroughs in delivering UGF efficiently. Public consultationThe law will be formally adopted in the coming year.
Peter Massini, an ecologist who helped to write the UGF policy at GLA, stated that residential developments are usually set a target for 0.4 and commercial developments 0.3.
London was already dotted with green roofs. 700 in central LondonThey are not necessary for their own sake, but the UGF makes them essential in dense urban areas with limited street-level space. Robertson said green walls can be used to lift UGF from crowded sites. But many designers are doubtful about their benefits in the face of a spate high-profile projects. die-offs. The cascading The Ray’s green terracesRobertson said that Robertson’s practices in Farringdon, the Guardians former headquarters, could be an indicator of where the city might be headed under UGF. He also mentioned biosolar roofs which combine plants grown around photovoltaic panel systems. A 33-storey building was approved by the City of London. Green towerThe February 2002 visit to 70 Gracechurch Street saw a record breaking UGF target of 0.33 with a collection a living roofs, terraces, and green walls.
Cadogan, the principal landlord in Chelsea and Knightsbridge is aiming for a 25% increase of its UGF across its 36 hectare (90-acres) Chelsea estate. This includes designing a Miyawaki forest. City Hall said that the UGF incentivizes developers not to settle for bland green spaces. Wild grassland and dense trees can score more than twice the average lawn, which means that lawns can also be upgraded to reach historic areas that are protected by buildings.
Plans for an extensionThe Wimbledon Championships home has a near perfect UGF of 0.97. It is almost entirely green space. The All England Lawn Tennis Club (AELTC), bought a former private club in 2018 that was located next to the tournaments courts. It was formerly a parkland estate created by Capability Brown. Andrew Wayro, senior landscaping manager at AELTC, stated that the facility will have 39 tennis courts. They are designed to be part of a mosaic habitat with much open to public. Wayro said that although the UGF was already well above the 0.4 requirement, the project aims to increase it while increasing biodiversity by 10%. The Wimbledon plan has not. ObjectionsSome residents claim that the development will cause grave harm to the park.
Arc Landscape Design and Planning founder Vanessa Ross stated that it is up for developers, ecologists, and designers to decide whether the new metrics will really make a difference in London’s landscapes and ecosystems. Or push architects into designing by numbers. Ross said that private gardens can be a great source of green space, but they are not always accessible to the public.