Front gardens: Mini Nature Reserve or Car Park?


The London Assembly has issued a call for the Government and mayor of London to protect front gardens from being paved over for driveways and to enforce permeable solutions.

It agreed a motion noting the importance of front gardens in providing flood relief, wildlife habitats, shade and cooling, character and identity to streets and alleviation of air pollution.

The Assembly was alarmed by last year’s Royal Horticultural Society report Green Grey Britain which drew attention to the fact that half of the front gardens in London are now paved over with no vegetation.

It is also worried about increased pressure on the drainage system.

“The character of our streets and front gardens is rapidly changing as lawns and flower beds are replaced by driveways and paving,” said Assembly member Jenny Jones.

“Front garden rules are clearly not fit for purpose and are contributing to our flood risk and the elimination of wildlife habitat. The rules need to give priority to greenery and vegetation over paving, asphalt, concrete or any other hard permeable option.”

The Assembly called for a review of the permeable solutions element of permitted development regulations and to promote lawns, flower beds, rain gardens and other vegetation over options like permeable block paving or porous asphalt or concrete.