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Key London Figures

Below are some key facts and figures from GiGL data holdings. Please credit them to “Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC, 2019”.

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. 42% 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. 42% of Greater London can be classified as open space (7). This can be divided into the land use categories displayed in figure 3. Get in touch to access data on more detailed land uses.

Land UseArea (ha)Percentage
Parks And Gardens92945.83%
Natural And Semi-natural Urban Greenspace89605.62%
Green Corridors57083.58%
Outdoor Sports Facilities107736.76%
Amenity64834.07%
Children And Teenagers750.05%
Allotments, Community Gardens And City Farms10210.64%
Cemeteries And Churchyards13670.86%
Other Urban Fringe128538.05%
Civic Spaces1000.06%
Other30771.93%
Unknown78304.91%
Total:6754142.36%

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 17.99% of Greater London (8). It is divided into a hierarchy according to The London Plan (Table 7.2) (9).

Public Open SpaceArea (ha)Percentage of Greater London
Regional Parks*66924.20%
Metropolitan Parks82885.20%
District Parks44522.79%
Local Parks and Open Spaces55803.50%
Small Open Spaces7900.50%
Pocket Parks1360.09%
Linear Open Spaces27451.72%
Total:2868317.99%

*does not currently include Wandle Valley and Colne Valley Regional Parks

How much of London is designated for its value for nature conservation?
Areas of land which are important for their wildlife are designated as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs)(10). There are 1,602 SINCs in Greater London, covering 18.97% of the city’s area (11). There are three tiers, of which the middle is usually divided into two Grades.

Grade Area (ha) Percentage of Greater London
Metropolitan15,689.889.84%
Borough Grade 17,784.424.88%
Borough Grade 24,826.523.02%
Borough (no grade distinction)187.080.12%
Local1,762.381.11%
Total:30250.2818.97%

How many wildlife sites in London have statutory protection?
Greater London has a range of areas afforded statutory protection for their wildlife value:

• Two Special Protection Areas (SPAs): Lee Valley and South West London Waterbodies (12)

• Three Special Areas of Conservation (SACs): Epping Forest, Richmond Park and Wimbledon Common (12)

• Two RAMSAR sites: Lee Valley and South West London Waterbodies (13)

• Three National Nature Reserves: Ruislip Woods, Richmond Park (14) and South London Downs (15)

• 37 Sites of Special Interest (SSSIs) (16). Seven of these are designated for their geology (16)

• 144 Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) (16) (under review)

How much of London is Green Belt?

22% of Greater London (35,126 hectares) is designated as Green Belt (17). More statistics regarding the city’s Green Belt are available here.

How much of London is Metropolitan Open Land?

Almost 10% of Greater London (15,001 hectares) is designated as Metropolitan Open Land (MOL)(18). More statistics regarding the city’s MOL are available here.

According to London’s ‘protected’ land: the extent, location and character of designated Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land in Greater London report (CPRE, 2018), the total area of MOL in London is 15,681 hectares and Green Belt is 35,109 hectares. This report analysed data collated from London boroughs by GiGL with support from CPRE London. All data with permission to do so, (31 of the 32 boroughs, excluding Bromley) were also added to GiGL’s datasets of these policy areas and these data are updated annually with provided information.

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