As cities such as London grow, houses, offices and new developments take the place of green space because the land is more profitable after it has been developed. This does, however, pose a number of problems. By removing vegetation, air quality can reduce and pollution can become worse; water runoff becomes faster which puts more pressure on drain and sewer networks and can ultimately lead to flooding.
Studies show that stress can increase just by removing green space. A person’s heart beats an average on 5 beats per minute less if there is just more vegetation around them. So although there are financial benefits to developing green space, is it really good for us?
Despite the health implications nearly every city is continuing to renovate what’s left of its green spaces in favour of more places to live and work. To try and combat this, green roofs are sometimes specified to replace what greenery was lost by the new build. This helps to combat the problems of pollution and storm water runoff as well as aiding with insulation and reducing energy bills, but is it enough?
Unfortunately, not all buildings have green roofs specified, so not enough is being done to replace the green space lost. Not only is this an issue for our own health and wellbeing, but it poses a great problem for the local wildlife. Without a pathway of vegetation through urban areas, many animals cannot survive. This is one of the reasons that the French have recently brought in legislation that every new commercial building in the country must be at least partially covered in a living or solar roof. Is this legislation that needs to come to Britain? Are we doing enough to replace the wildlife we are losing through development?