Lambeth Council this week became the first London borough to adopt a motion pledging to take a firm line with developers who fail to deliver the green spaces they have promised.
The Horticultural Trades Association's Greening the UK motion was passed unanimously by Lambeth councillors on Wednesday.
The motion, which was proposed by Liberal Democrat councillor Diana Braithwaite of Waterloo's Bishop's ward, commits the council to taking a firmer line with developers who fail to deliver on the planting and green spaces outlined in democratically approved planning documents.
The motion compels the council to "ensure, using enforcement powers where expedient, that the planting required by planning approvals is installed and maintained." It also pledges council support to exemplar schemes and the lobbying of local MPs to promote the principles of the Greening the UK campaign within Parliament.
The Greening the UK campaign has been highlighting the fact that there has been a 50 per cent reduction in soft landscaped areas on new developments over the past decade; and that only half of the green planting outlined in approved planning documents is ever delivered.
"We have to ensure that green spaces, trees and plants are integral in the design of all new developments and that they are not merely an afterthought," says Diana Braithwaite, who campaigned to protect and improve the Lambeth Walk Open Space before she became a councillor.
"Fundamentally, greening our borough will facilitate an improved public realm and ultimately a better quality of life for those who live and work in Lambeth."
Lambeth's adoption of the motion has been welcomed by David Gwyther, director general of the Horticultural Trades Association.
"The planting of trees and plants in urban areas has immense benefits for our social, health and environmental well being – with particular impact in large conurbations like London," he explains. " I am encouraged by the news that Lambeth is the first London borough to adopt the Greening the UK model motion and I hope that other boroughs will follow suit and join the campaign."