GiGL has been working with the GLA since long before either organisation existed. John Archer, Principal Policy Officer at the GLA and GiGL’s steering group chair explains.
The London Ecology Unit, which was later absorbed into the GLA, was one of the key partners in GiGL’s precursor – the London Wildlife Trust’s Biological Recording Project.This collaboration has continued.The Mayor made clear his support for establishing a biodiversity records centre for London in his biodiversity strategy, and the GLA currently chairs GiGL’s steering group. The relationship is certainly a productive and mutually beneficial one.The Mayor’s open space and habitat survey is one of GiGL’s most important sources of data.
We at the GLA appreciate the value that is added to our own data by the rest of GiGL’s holdings.The breadth of GiGL’s species data particularly complements the GLA’s habitat information. What’s more, we can pass on the numerous data requests we receive from consultants and the public and let GiGL do the work.
Perhaps the most significant result of the GLA’s work with GiGL is the latter’s expansion from a traditional biodiversity records centre to a service that handles a much wider suite of open space information.This is the result of a process started in the early days of the GLA.
The old London Ecology Unit survey format was combined with the former London planning advisory committee format for gathering information for open space planning. This was used for the GLA’s rolling programme of open space surveys. With the data all being collected on one form, it made sense to store and manage it all together.Then, when another organisation began to investigate setting up a GIS database of open space data for London, it soon became clear that the wheel had already been invented, and GiGL’s wider remit – and resulting name – was established.