London ‘greenest city’ in Europe

London is the greenest major city in Europe and the third greenest city of its size in the world, according to a report commissioned by the City of London Corporation.

The capital contains 35,000 acres of public parks, woodlands and gardens, which means that 40% of its surface area is made up of publicly accessible green space.

In comparison, Berlin, the next major city green space provider in Europe, has just 14.4% of green surface area.

Published today, the report ‘Green Spaces: The Benefits for London’, credits the capital’s green spaces with climate change prevention, absorbing pollution, reducing flooding, and improving air quality.

City of London Corporation policy chairman Mark Boleat said: “London is known the world over as a leading financial centre – but its parks, woodlands and gardens play a key role in making it perhaps the best place to live, work and visit in the world.”

The report also finds that London’s green spaces contribute a number of economic benefits to society. It cited research which found that people are more likely to be physically active if they have access to green spaces, resulting in significant savings for the NHS.

In addition, the report finds that London’s parks and woodlands can be a major draw for tourism and a boost to the local economy.

The City of London Corporation manages almost 11,000 acres of green spaces in and around the capital, including London’s largest – Epping Forest, Hampstead Heath, and more than 200 gardens, churchyards, parks and plazas within the Square Mile.

In 2012/13 annual visits to the City Corporation’s green spaces were estimated at 23 million.

Conor McGlone

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