Thames Gateway ‘needs climate-proofing’

The Thames Gateway planners are not doing enough to prepare the regeneration area for climate change, environmental campaigners have warned.

More environmentally sensitive planning could result in a greener, as well as safer development capable of sustaining the rich wildlife already present in the area, local Wildlife Trusts said.

The Thames Gateway regeneration area is one of Europe’s biggest, but scored low on the European scale when it comes to environmental credentials, the campaigners said. Only around 3% of the budget is spent on green infrastructure compared to 10% for other projects.

The London, Kent and Essex wildlife trusts called for more interlinking green space, flood-sensitive planning and provisions for the preservation of wild areas.

“The Thames Gateway is an incredible opportunity. The regeneration of this huge tract of land – over a 40 mile stretch of the lower reaches of the River Thames – should be done in an environmentally sensitive way providing an interlinking infrastructure of green space, creating a healthier environment for people and wildlife and mitigating against climate change,” said Carlo Laurenzi, CEO of London Wildlife Trust.

“We call on the Government to put much needed funds into green infrastructure in the Gateway now. In this high risk flood area, retaining green space is essential as it will act as a protective sponge in case of flooding due to extreme weather conditions,” he said.

Some developers were taking up sustainability and wildlife conservation principles in their plans, the Wildlife Trusts said.

“We are keen to work closely with large developers and planners on proposed residential development to help build in good sustainable and environmental features,” says, John Hall, Director of Essex Wildlife Trust.

“This will add value for both developers and residents, as well as for wildlife.”

The comments precede the Thames Gateway Forum, due to be held at Greenwich University in London at the end of next week.

Goska Romanowicz

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