In March of this year, Hackney Borough Council launched its Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). The BAP will run from 2012 to 2017 and outlines plans to contribute to improving the local environment and enhancing the borough’s wildlife and greenscapes. It identifies six priority habitats, including parks and the built environment. The plan can be viewed at:
Interestingly, Hackney is the greenest inner London borough, with more than 40% of its area made up of parks, open spaces, gardens and other green areas. The plan acknowledges correctly the increasing recognition of the role of biodiversity in the sustainability agenda and the services it provides.
The plan is interesting as its consideration is also broader than purely biodiversity. Hackney‘s Health Profile confirms that health in the borough is generally poor with high levels of early death from heart disease and stroke. Furthermore, there are particular concerns around children, with higher levels of obesity and lower levels of physical activity than the national average. So, in addition to biodiversity benefits, the plan correctly recognises the growing medical evidence that access to the natural environment and time outdoors improves health and wellbeing.
The plan also promotes the importance of green infrastructure and roofs for their contribution to surface water management and biodiversity. Green roofs is an appropriate on-site biodiversity enhancement to be conditioned (on granted planning permissions) for new development. It is important when specifying green roofs to give thought to their actual biodiversity value and this is why Ecosulis developed Verdant Blanket in partnership with Skygardens, as we wrote about here: