Council climate action and emissions summary 2022-23

Theme 3: Natural Environment

Kingston is lucky to be surrounded by significant green space with Richmond Park, Wimbledon Common, Home Park, the greenbelt and the River Thames along our borders. This means that Kingston is geographically important to ensuring that wildlife populations can move through the borough to connect with other populations - and it is vitally important that there is protection for the natural infrastructure and populations contained within the borough to protect the natural environment from the wide range of threats that it currently faces, including climate change. 

In February 2023 Kingston scaled up its protection of the natural environment with the approval of its first ever Biodiversity Action Plan. This plan compliments the activity in the Climate Action Plan by outlining how the council intends to take a leading role in enhancing the biodiversity and health of nature in Kingston. Kingston itself is 37% greenspace, with 272 open spaces covering an area of 1,369 hectares.

The borough has a wealth of habitats including grasslands, woodlands, hedgerows, standing open water, rivers, streams and the Thames, all of which have designated habitat action plans included within the Biodiversity Action Plan. 

It also outlines ways in which ecosystems can help to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change; for example by capturing carbon, improving drainage, retaining water or cooling the surrounding environment.

In Kingston 2,062 species have been recorded, though this is probably an underestimate of the true number it provides an insight into the wealth of biodiversity that an urban environment can support. Kingston is home to true marvels of the natural world; from peregrine falcons stooping at speeds in excess of 200 mph to enigmatic stag beetles battling on a warm summer's day. 

It is vital that this plan recognises, communicates and protects the biodiversity that calls Kingston home. As such the plan includes Flagship Species Action Plans that are specifically tailored to Kingston’s wildlife populations.

Complementing this plan, WildWay sites and RBS Pollinator Friendly Certified BioBeds have been established across the borough, helping to improve wildflower and pollinator numbers across Kingston. Regular nature walks and talks take place, engaging hundreds of people each year, and community partnership work, such as the London Zoological Society’s London Hogwatch programme, and Field Studies Council Recorder Days connect residents with the borough’s nature, highlighting the importance of protecting it from climate change.

The council looks after over 12,000 trees in Kingston’s parks and green spaces and between November 2022 and March 2023 planted 500 more. Trees have huge value when it comes to climate change, capturing carbon, cleaning the air and providing shade and cool spaces. Thames Water committed £10,000 to support a small wetland creation scheme on Beeline Way to help mitigate loss of habitat.

Making the most of our green spaces not only provides a haven for wildlife, protecting it from the impacts of climate change, but they can also capture carbon, provide cool spaces for residents and spaces for people to connect with nature, take exercise and benefit their health and wellbeing. Many of our local green spaces have ‘friends of’ groups, if you would like to get involved you can find out what is going on on our website.

Last Modified: 15/09/2023 15:13:18