Green infrastructure


There are over 1500 wildlife sites across London covering 18% of the city's area yet an estimated 1.75 million people live in a 'green deficiency' zone where they are more than 1 km from a green space.

Currently, 83 200 properties in London are at 'moderate' or 'significant' risk of flooding from rivers and 680 000 properties are at risk of flooding from heavy rainfall following a 1 in 200 year event.

UK air pollutants reduce lifespan on average by 8–14 months, and by up to 9 years for the most vulnerable.


Green cover in London has increased by 10% and there is an extra 9000 hectares of accessible green space. Rainwater and wastewater are regarded as valuable resources and our green and grey infrastructure systems complement one another.

Pressure on drainage networks are reduced as all new-built developments include green features e.g. pocket parks, roof gardens, green roofs and walls.

Read more in the London Infrastructure Plan 2050.

Science for a green and liveable London

Sustainable drainage systems (SuDS)

The BGS Infiltration SuDS map is a tool used by local authorities and developers to find out where infiltration SuDS can be used effectively to lower the risk of surface water flooding.

Natural capital

Researchers at CEH as part of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment have shown that The amenity benefits of living close to rivers, coasts and other wetlands is worth up to £1.3 billion per year and the health benefits of living with a view of a green space are worth up to £300 per person per year.

Air quality

Researchers at NCAS have shown that trees in the UK emitted unexpectedly large amounts of isoprene during the hottest periods, catalysing the formation of additional smog. This research is being used to improve urban tree planting.


The BGS LondonEarth project provides a systematic high-density overview of soil geochemistry for the Greater London Area (GLA) giving an insight into the environmental impacts of urbanisation and associated health risks.

Read more about NERC's green infrastructure research


Contact Stephanie Bricker for more information.