The London Plan 2021 includes a new policy initiative referred to as the ‘Urban Greening Factor’. This is intended to accelerate the greening of London’s streets, buildings and public spaces. The policy will provide new areas of green space in the urban environment and to work alongside planning policies which protect our existing green spaces.
The policy encourages developers to approach urban greening as a fundamental element at the early stages so that opportunities to incorporate greening are maximised and integrated into the design process.
How it works
The Urban Greening Factor (UGF) is a tool which evaluates both quality and quantity of proposed urban greening. The UGF is calculated as a rating allowing London Boroughs to identify the appropriate amount of urban greening required for a development.
To calculate the UGF, each surface type within a proposal is given a rating, these ratings vary between 0 and 1 depending on their contribution to greening. For example, an intensive green roof is rated 0.8, compared to permeable paving being rated 0.1. This rating is calculated against the total area and added together with all other surface types which results in a total site score. Typically, 0.3 is the minimum accepted rating although this varies depending on development type, for example a minimum rating of 0.4 is required for major residential developments.
Urban Greening Factor proposals are presented as part of a developments planning pack and assist in the proposal’s determination, providing both the planning authority and developers with more certainty regarding what is expected to be implemented in terms of soft landscaping.
Achieving the UGF rating
The UGF is currently only a requirement for major applications but this could change to include all developments in the future.
As the UGF is intended to create an integrated approach to greening, professionals such as landscape architects and ecologists will probably be involved earlier in the design process. As always the approach to the landscape scheme will be influenced by many factors including the site constraints, proposed use and project budget. The required UGF rating can be achieved in many ways including green walls, green roofs, rain gardens, roof gardens, street trees, grasslands and hedges.
For more information refer to policy ‘G5 Urban Greening’ in the London Plan 2021: https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/planning/london-plan/new-london-plan/london-plan-2021