We know from research that green roofs have many benefits: for the environment; for buildings and for people. However, there are still gaps in this knowledge and we would like to carry out research into these areas. We are currently putting together a programme of research opportunities. As green roofs are a recent innovation in the UK, we are forming links with several universities in London in order to investigate some of the social, economic, and physical (energy) benefits. Jane Dickson is one of the very few social scientists in the world researching the social benefits of green roofs and is investigating the social and some of the economic benefits of the community project for her PhD.



The New London Plan

In 2007 the author, along with colleagues, was commissioned to write a
technical review of green roofs and green walls. This report was to
support the change in policy on green roofs from one of
'encouragement' to expectation'. The report reviewed all the technical
data available for a range of benefits including reduction in the
urban heat island, thermal performance, storm water attenuation,
biodiversity and amenity. It also reviewed city policies elsewhere in
the world. The technical report, published in late 2007, lead to a
distinct policy on Living roofs and walls in the revised London Plan
published in March 2008.


The new London Plan Living roofs and wall [Policy statement 4a 11] states: The Mayor and the boroughs should expect all major developments to incorporate living roofs and walls, where feasible to reflect
this in Local Development Framework policies. It is expected that this
will include roof and wall planting that delivers as many of the following
objectives as possible:

  • Accessible roof space
    Adapting and mitigating for climate change
    Sustainable urban drainage
    Enhancing biodiversity
    Improved appearance

Boroughs should also encourage the use of living roofs in smaller
developments and extensions where the opportunity arises

Although it is too early to see what the effect of the new policy,
green roofs have been delivered on an increasing scale in the capital
over the last eight years and the new Plan should lead to an increase in