Natural Capital Accounts for Public Green Space in London

Vivid worked in partnership with the Greater London Authority, National Trust and Heritage Lottery Fund to produce a natural capital account for London’s public green spaces. The account reveals the enormous economic value of London’s public green spaces. The headlines are:

  • London’s public green space have a gross asset value in excess of £91 billion, providing services valued at £5 billion per year.
  • For each £1 spent by local authorities and their partners on public green space, Londoners enjoy at least £27 in value.
  • Londoners avoid £950 million per year in health costs due to public green space.
  • The value of recreational activities is estimated to be £926 million per year.
  • For the average household in London, the monetary value of being in close proximity to a park or green space is over £900 per year.
  • These economic benefits are not spread equally across or within London borough’s.

Natural capital accounting is a methodology that is rapidly gaining acceptance as a necessary requirement to inform decision-making. The Government has committed to including natural capital accounts in the UK environment accounts – compiled by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – by 2020. This is to ensure that natural capital accounts can be used alongside other key indicators of economic performance. ONS has been charged by Government to develop a roadmap to enable this. The Natural Capital Account for London’s Public Green Spaces is a significant contribution to the work necessary to ensure that natural capital accounting is applicable in an urban context and can be applied effectively to urban green infrastructure.