An ambitious rewilding project of Hyde Park could be on the cards, which would include the introduction of lost species in the city. This plan would see London Mayor Sadiq Khan lead the way, after he released £600,000 of funds for the idea.
The mayor has been working with Ben Goldsmith, brother of his former mayoral opponent Zac Goldsmith, who is a member of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Boosting nature across London by adding wildlife to the royal parks and encouraging people to plant green rooftops is also at the crux of the project.
Sadiq Khan has stated the aim of every Londoner living within 10 minutes of a green space, and the funds release will help towards the net zero target.
Ben Goldsmith said: “I’m so excited to be working with Sadiq on this new rewilding taskforce for London. All people need to experience close connection with nature in their lives, and yet for many Londoners this is a remote possibility today.
“From green rooftops to pocket parks, nest boxes for peregrines and swifts, rewiggling streams and reintroducing long lost native species, our plan is to weave wild nature back through the very fabric of our city.”
Around 1,600 places in London are designated by local authorities as sites of importance in conserving nature, which account for 20% of the city. However, just half of these spots – which includes Richmond Park, Sydenham Hill Wood and many more – are judged to suitably meet the standards of wildlife conservation. This project would focus on up to 30 of these sites to protect species including stag beetles, sparrows, peregrine falcons and water voles.
Campaigners have urged leaders in London to reintroduce wildlife back into the city, with Wildlife Trusts, The Beaver Trust and Citizen Zoo working on plans to bring beavers back to London. Citizen Zoo are also attempting to reintroduce grasshoppers and water voles back into areas where they have been lost.
Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. In London, we need to take bold action to ensure we not only halt the decline of biodiversity in our natural environment but pave the way for growth and change.
“That’s why I’ve announced my new rewilding fund, which will help restore the capital’s precious wildlife sites, improve biodiversity and ensure all Londoners have a thriving web of nature on their doorstep. And as part of our green new deal, we’re supporting young Londoners to gain the skills required for jobs that help secure a future for London’s natural environment.”