A report was published yesterday by the Green Infrastructure Task Force following the publication of the London Infrastructure Plan 2050 highlighting the hurdles and benefits of implementing a green infrastructure strategy in London. 

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The Task force vision is to produce a high quality green infrastructure network throughout London that is vital to a healthy, happy city. The report stresses that all neighbourhoods should be able to benefit from the green spaces and it will encourage walking, cycling and exercise as well as creating a safer community. They plan to mitigate the effects of climate change in London and improve water and air quality for the city. 

The report focuses on four key areas to develop green infrastructure:

- rethink green infrastructure’s purpose

- reframe the value and reveal the economic benefits - One of the key barriers preventing sustainable investment in green infrastructure is the difficulty in identifying its economic value to make a compelling business case for investment 

- restructure governance - Currently fragmented and often requiring multi-organisation cooperation, which doesn’t often happen

- release funding - to prevent the current financial difficulties that are facing parks the future of funding must be considered for green infrastructure

London is acknowledged as already being pretty green, however the report addresses the need to consider Green Infrastructure as a network, rather than isolated pockets. Other than the obvious benefits to biodiversity, this could also become a social leveller. Most of us can tell when an area is more wealthy; in London there are often more street trees, and largely more green areas, in poorer areas, there is limited green space. If green infrastructure is considered a blanket to be draped over the city, this is going to require greening the gaps in the network, thus benefiting those who currently do not have access to parks and nature. The report acknowledges that green infrastructure needs to be implemented to produce a truly sustainable city not just ecologically, but also socially.

The suggestion of an appointment of a Green Infrastructure Commissioner is an interesting one. The role aims to ‘initiate a public-facing campaign to raise awareness of the value and benefits
of green infrastructure’, which is indeed necessary to raise awareness amongst the public, who will hopefully be encouraged to take ownership of their green spaces

The report is a fantastic step in the right direction towards change, and ultimately reflects the current problems of implementing green infrastructure. Hopefully with our capital city getting on board, we will quickly see green infrastructure incorporated across the whole country, and possibly a nation-wide green infrastructure plan.

To read the report go to http://www.london.gov.uk/file/366435/download?token=68SysGOb