Enhancing our green infrastructure

We have ambitious targets for increasing biodiversity and green cover on our land, including targets for tree canopy cover, street trees and Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS).

Working with boroughs

We work with boroughs to help them create new green spaces and routes to new green spaces on their roads. Evidence shows that well-designed green infrastructure can help to encourage a greater uptake of walking and cycling. This helps us meet commitments in the Mayor's Transport Strategy and contributes towards the aims and targets in the London Environment Strategy.

Natural capital account

We're calculating the economic value of a range of benefits that our natural assets provide, such as carbon storage, recreation and air pollutant removal. We'll use this information in our strategic decision-making and to help us plan our investments. This will allow us to achieve better environmental outcomes on our estate.

Biodiversity net gain

As well as avoiding impacts on Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation and green spaces when we can, we're aiming for a net gain in biodiversity across our estate through maintenance activities, new projects and commercial development.

We'll also achieve 10% biodiversity net gain on relevant developments as part of the Environment Act's requirements.

SuDS project in Elspeth Road - water enters rain garden through slots in kerb from pavement and road


SuDS help cut the risk of surface water flooding by slowing and reducing the flow of rainwater in a way that mimics natural processes. SuDS that incorporate green infrastructure, such as rain gardens and green roofs, can also provide other benefits such as reducing water pollution as well as improving the look and feel of streets and urban areas.

The Mayor's Transport Strategy sets a target of draining 50,000 square metres a year of highway catchment into SuDS features rather than the conventional drainage system. (This is across London boroughs and TfL-owned land.)

We're contributing to this as part of our Healthy Street schemes at Old Street and Elspeth Road and have future plans at Tolworth, Streatham Hill and Edgware Road.

Wildflower verges trial

To encourage wildflowers to grow and attract pollinators and other invertebrates, we are also reducing the frequency of grass cutting on some of our roadside verges.

Green roofs

We have built green roofs on some of our buildings and offices, including at the Brixton and Stratford train crew accommodation, our head offices at Stratford, Southwark and North Greenwich, the Northern line control centre in Highgate, as well as Canary Wharf, Paddington and Rotherhithe stations, Ruislip depot and West Ham bus garage.

green roofs at West Ham bus garage

Five new green bus shelter roofs were installed as part of a trial in 2020. Bespoke shelters were developed and a selection of herbaceous perennials and spring flowering bulbs were planted.

We're still monitoring the results of the trial but are not currently planning to expand it. This is down to the high costs of building a bus shelter structure that can support the additional load for limited biodiversity benefits. Instead, we're focusing on our wildflower verges.