Key London Figures

Below are some key facts and figures from GiGL data holdings. Please credit them to “Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC, 2015”.

How green is London?
Roughly 47% of Greater London is ‘green’; 33% of London is natural habitats within open space according to surveyed habitat information (1) and an additional 14% is estimated to be vegetated private, domestic garden land (2).

How much of London is water?
Over 2% of Greater London’s area is blue space (3), such as rivers, canals and reservoirs.

How much of London is garden land?
It has been calculated that 24% of Greater London is private, domestic garden land (4). 14% of this is estimated to be vegetated garden green space (5).

How much of London is open?
More than 60% of Greater London is open (i.e. undeveloped) land. 39% of this is land that has an amenity value or potential amenity value (6). The rest of the open land is domestic gardens.

What is London’s open space used for?
London’s open spaces are multifunctional, both in terms of their ecosystem services and their amenity value for London’s residents. 39% of Greater London can be classified as open space (7). This can be divided into the following categories:

Land UseArea (ha)Percentage
Parks And Gardens92075.77%
Natural And Semi-natural Urban Greenspace88595.56%
Green Corridors56713.56%
Outdoor Sports Facilities107186.72%
Children And Teenagers720.05%
Allotments, Community Gardens And City Farms9950.62%
Cemeteries And Churchyards13900.87%
Other Urban Fringe128938.09%
Civic Spaces740.05%

How much of London is designated as Public Open Space?
The London Boroughs can choose to designate specific sites as Public Open Space. These sites account for 17.88% of Greater London (8). It is divided into a hierarchy according to The London Plan (Table 7.2):

Public Open SpaceArea (ha)Percentage of Greater London
Regional Parks*67554.24%
Metropolitan Parks80655.06%
District Parks44132.77%
Local Parks and Open Spaces56683.55%
Small Open Spaces8040.5%
Pocket Parks1250.08%
Linear Open Spaces26891.69%

*does not currently include Wandle Valley and Colne Valley

How much of London is designated for its value for nature conservation?
Important wildlife sites in Greater London are designated as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs). These cover 19.24% of Greater London (9). There are three tiers, of which the middle is usually divided into two Grades:

Grade Area (ha) Percentage of Greater London
Borough Grade 173684.62%
Borough Grade 251513.23%
Borough (no grade distinction)1850.12%

How many wildlife sites in London have statutory protection?
Greater London has the following statutory protected areas (10):
• Two Special Protection Areas (SPAs)
• Three Special Areas of Conservation (SACs)
• Two National Nature Reserves (NNRs)
• 37 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs): seven are designated for their geology.
• 143 Local Nature Reserves (LNRs)

How much of London is Green Belt?
There are 35,109 hectares of designated Green Belt within Greater London (11). This equates to 22% of London’s area.

1, 3 Figure calculated from GiGL habitat dataset (December 2013).

2, 4, 5 Figure taken from ‘London: Garden City?’ report (Greenspace Information for Greater London, London Wildlife Trust and Greater London Authority, 2010)

6 , 7 Figures taken from GiGL open space dataset (May 2015). Open space is defined as undeveloped land which has an amenity value, or has potential for an amenity value. The value could be visual, derive from a site’s historical or cultural interest or from the enjoyment of facilities which it provides. It includes both public and private spaces, but excludes private gardens.

8 Public Open Space designations were sourced from published borough documents, such as Open Space Strategies and Local Development Frameworks. Additionally, some boroughs were contacted for information where designations were unclear. In cases where the designation of public open space is unclear, the designations published in the Sub-Regional Development Framework (2006) were used for the Regional Park, Metropolitan Park and District Park designations. Where information is not yet available on the designation of smaller public open spaces (or where data is yet to be included), GiGL has derived the likely designations according to other information in the open space dataset.

9 Figure calculated from GiGL SINC dataset (May 2015).

10 Information provided by Natural England.

11 GiGL Green Belt dataset, last collated from boroughs spring 2018.