A radical overhaul overhaul of planning rules that would make green space as vital as access to water or energy is being considered by London’s mayor.
Sadiq Khan has signalled he will support the scheme to make it easier for all residents of the capital to enjoy areas away from buildings and traffic if he secures a second term in City Hall.
A fifth of London is more than a kilometre from areas of nature, despite the fact that green space accounts for nearly half of the city (47 per cent), according to a report by the Fabian Society, which will be published on Friday.
It says that future developments should guarantee that every resident is no more than 1,000m away from a patch of land that is not covered in concrete or tarmac.
The mayor of London has thrown his weight behind the initiative,which calls for housing estates with poor access to nature to be flagged for future enhancements in recommendations outlined by wildlife activist David Lindo.
Mr Lindo, an urban ornithologist, wrote of how he felt shut out of nature as a young black man growing up in inner-city London in the 1970s.
He said: “It was often about saving spaces in leafier areas, rather than improving the run-down spaces of inner urban neighbourhoods.
“Camley Street Natural Park in run-down King’s Cross, saved in 1982 and then re-imagined as a wildlife oasis, was one of the exceptions, but I never felt that addressing the environmental injustices of communities living in poorer, rougher, more polluted neighbourhoods were fully embedded in much of this work.”
He warned that the UK was becoming “an increasingly internalised society” that was less connected with and “even fearful of the natural world”.
Mr Lindo added: “We need to be less protective, bolder and braver to reimagine how London should look and sound. We must be ‘greener’ rather than ‘greyer’.”
Speaking ahead of publication, Mr Khan said: “Access to nature should be available to all Londoners regardless of wealth or background.
“David Lindo’s vision of bringing nature closer to people is exactly the kind of idea that London needs to ensure we remain one of the greenest cities in the world and face up to the challenge of tackling a climate emergency.”
The recommendations are among a series of proposals aiming to stimulate debate ahead of next year’s London mayoral elections.