£6 million investment in London's green spaces
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has announced a new Rewild London Fund that will help restore London's most precious wildlife sites and create more natural habitats, while confirming the first 45 projects to be supported by his £6 million investment in green spaces.
There are 1,600 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) in London, covering 20 per cent of the capital. These include the world-famous nature reserve Richmond Park, Sydenham Hill Wood and the downlands in Bromley and Croydon that inspired Charles Darwin's discoveries. Currently around half of these sites are being appropriately managed to conserve or enhance their special wildlife.
The new Rewild London Fund will be delivered with expert advice from London Wildlife Trust and will support 20-30 of these sites to ensure that London's special species thrive, from creating new homes for stag beetles to water voles in newly restored waterways and helping birds like swifts and house sparrows to flourish.
The Mayor has also announced a further £300K of funding for 40 'Keeping it Wild' traineeships for young people aged 16-25. The traineeships, delivered with the London Wildlife Trust, will support young Black, Asian and minority ethnic Londoners, as well as young disabled Londoners and those from areas of economic deprivation, to develop vital green skills and help to remove barriers to entering the sector.
These announcements build on the policies that the Mayor introduced in his London Plan, including robust protections for green spaces and the Green Belt, as well as the £6m investment in green spaces and climate resilience launched in June 2021.
The Grow Back Greener Fund has awarded £1.4m - including £500,000 from Thames Water - to 45 community projects that will create and improve green spaces and boost climate resilience. As well as helping to rewild London, these projects will increase access to green space, reduce flood risk and improve water quality.
The Mayor says that access to green space and nature is not just an environmental issue, but a matter of social justice and health inequality. The Mayor wants all Londoners to live within a 10-minute walk of green space, and the projects receiving funding today will help to achieve that goal. He states:
'The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. In London, we need to take bold action to ensure that we not only halt the decline of biodiversity in our natural environment but pave the way for growth and change. I am proud to have helped London to be recognised as the world's first National Park City in 2019, and this funding shows my commitment to protecting that status and doing all I can to protect London's amazing network of green spaces, rivers and natural habitats.'