We're a diverse city, of nature as well as people. It's this mix that makes London special and we are determined to make sure we do everything we can to look after it.
Whether it's our world famous parks or lesser-known but no less special neighbourhood gardens – our city is rich in a diverse range of open spaces and natural habitats. To the east lie Rainham Marshes the last remaining tract of grazing marsh in London; the downlands of south London support rare butterflies and chalk-loving plants which were the inspiration for Charles Darwin’s scientific discoveries; Epping Forest and other ancient woodlands in North London provide important green lungs for the city; and, in west London Richmond Park and the London Wetland Centre provide world-renown wildlife havens. These, along with the River Thames and hundreds of other green spaces, and countless suburban gardens, provide contact with the natural world even in the busiest parts of the city.
Over 1,400 sites across London are officially recognised as being of value to wildlife. These are identified as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) through the land-use planning process in London. Most are managed by London Boroughs but some are managed by organisations such as the London Wildlife Trust. To find more of London’s wildlife sites visit iGiGL.
Our Biodiversity Strategy sets out how we will protect and conserve London's natural open spaces. It seeks to ensure that we do not lose our wildlife habitats in London and create more open spaces that are accessible to all Londoners. Published in 2002 by the previous administration, this remains the Mayor's biodiversity policy for London.
We have also published useful guidance on how to improve the nature conservation interest of London's parks and green spaces. People, Parks & Nature and Improving Londoners' Access to Nature indicate how green spaces can be improved for wildlife and made better spaces for people.
The landscaping of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park demonstrates that new high quality natural environments can be created in the urban environment and that these can make a contribution to biodiversity and habitat creation.