The Urban Greening Factor & what it means for London

Urban Greening Factor is a buzz word right now. But what exactly is it, and how will it impact development in one of the most regenerated regions in the world.

With people flocking to the UK’s urban areas, it’s only right that measures are taken to prevent an increase in population levels from harming the planet. In Britain, London is the focus of the union, making it the epicentre of displacement – the population is set to top 10 million by 2030.

The Urban Green Factor is London’s solution to a problem that has been brewing for years. In this post, we’ll take a closer look at what it entails and how it will impact development in one of the most regenerated regions in the world.

The Urban Greening Factor – what is it?

The Urban Greening Factor (UGF) is a way for local authorities and councils to evaluate the merits of green infrastructure, and is a part of The London Plan. Its main aim is to implement green developments throughout England’s capital city by ensuring every scheme contributes to London’s green goals. This is achieved by incorporating features such as roof terraces, green roofs, rain gardens, and green walls.

London is a city with growing demand for residential property and affordable housing. The scheme recognises the need to continue building to meet this demand. Therefore, a priority for UGF-compliant developers is to build new developments that minimise disruption to the existing environment and result in greater access to green space for local populations. UGF schemes may also have the aim of requiring developers to take specialist advice from landscape architects to ensure that their plans meet requirements.

Urban Greening Factor in London by Valley Provincial, Roof Terraces, Landscaping, Podiums

Why do we need Urban Greening?

Despite how it may appear, London is an incredibly eco-friendly city that aims to be the first-ever National Park City. Among other things, this includes a commitment to increasing the city’s green spaces by 50% by 2050.

However, London still has its problems. An extra 3 million people, roughly the population of Manchester, are expected to call the capital home by 2050. As a result, poor air quality and the effects of climate change on people’s lifestyles will be marked.

Through the Urban Greening Plan, the city hopes to negate the consequences of the numbers above, while setting a precedent for regions throughout the UK and the world to follow.

How is the Urban Green Factor calculated?

The Urban Greening Factor is measured by allocating a factor to the various types of surface cover included in planning proposals. The factors are a simplified measure of the various benefits provided by soils, vegetation and water, and are assigned on the basis of potential for rainwater infiltration. This is because the water-holding capacity of surface cover and associated soil is an indicator of their ‘naturalness’ and their ability to provide the range of benefits in relation to health, climate change adaptation, air quality improvement and biodiversity conservation.

The Urban Greening Factor for a proposed development is calculated in the following way: (Factor A x Area) + (Factor B x Area) + (Factor C x Area) etc. divided by Total Site Area.

Factors between 0 and 1 are allocated to each surface cover type, with impermeable surfaces such as concrete and paving scoring factor 0, and the most natural surface cover, such as open water or trees, given a factor of 1.

This table shows the factors that each surface finish is allocated.

How the Urban Greening Factor is scored in London, Valley Provincial

How will developers make London greener?

Several concepts are being considered, but the main ones include the following:

  • Greening from the outset – Too many buildings are erected without enough consideration given to the urban greening impact. The UGF plans on changing this by making it essential to consider how new properties will address the problem, such as implementing roof terraces, podium landscapes and high-rise gardens.
  • Understanding the impact on air quality – London’s air quality is getting better and is currently rated at a moderate 78. This is down in part to the impact of landscaping. Thanks to the emphasis on green space, there are more trees and plants to absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen into the air.
  • Helping wildlife – The effect wildlife has on the planet shouldn’t be underestimated. Green spaces and landscaped terraces provide a shelter for urban wildlife.


Improving your Urban Greening Factor score

If you’re looking to develop your own space in line with the Urban Greening Factor, Valley Provincial are on hand to help. As professional landscapers in London, we can increase green space on new and existing developments to boost your site’s UGF score.

Get in touch