Throughout London, Urban Greening Factor is becoming more widely used. This will help development schemes to meet the requirements of policy G5 within The London Plan. The policy introduces the use of the Urban Greening Factor (UGF) to calculate the quality and quantity of urban greening proposed within a new development. This will put the greenspaces at the forefront of the design process. A draft plan for Urban Greening Factor was published in September 2021 – with the final guidance being published in 2022 – and sets out guidance for schemes within London.

Due to the rising demand for housing throughout the UK, the loss of large areas of ‘green space’ has been lost to accommodate new neighbourhoods. Therefore, we need to maximise the opportunity for high-quality green spaces within these proposed developments to mitigate these losses. This is where the Urban Greening Factor can be utilised. This calculator ensures new developments within London will provide the required level of green space, which will help to keep our ecosystems healthy and provide usable and functional amenity opportunities.

Urban greening is a fundamental element of design and can also be used to help deliver biodiversity net gain (BNG), which has become a requirement on most recent schemes that ACD has worked on, not just in London.

A link to a UGF calculator can be found on the website, to help calculate the UGF score of a scheme. Elements to increase the score include tree planting, green walls & roofs, rain gardens, perennial planting, and permeable paving.

Urban Greening Factor scores should be set out in Local Plans and vary throughout different Boroughs within London. However, where local plans do not have required scores set out, the UGF scores of 0.4 for predominantly residential and 0.3 for predominantly commercial developments should be applied. These scores are a minimum requirement for schemes.

The best way to achieve the required score is to consider landscaping from the outset of the design process, this will ensure all constraints are considered and a scheme can reach its maximum potential. Ensuring a Landscape Architect and Ecologist are appointed to the design team during the early design process can ensure opportunities to reach, and potentially exceed the required UGF scores. In doing this, the early decisions can inform wider design decisions and save time in the long run.

For more information on Urban Green Factor please contact ACD at