THREE years ago I chaired a London Assembly investigation into the loss of front gardens.
This was the first comprehensive study of the problem, and our report revealed that London had already lost green space equivalent to 22 Hyde Parks because of people paving over their front gardens.
Not only is this bad news for wildlife but it also increases flooding risk. Because rainfall cannot naturally soak into the soil the drainage system becomes completely overloaded.
I am happy to say that the Government has now acted on our findings and confirmed that it will be amending planning rules so that householders will only be able to pave over their front gardens without planning permission if the surface provided is permeable.
The promised amendment should come into force in October.
Meanwhile, we also need to continue pressing the Government to give greater protection to back gardens, too.
Currently, gardens count as previously developed brownfield land which makes it relatively easy for them to be built on.
Records show that more than 3,000 housing units have been built on back gardens in London over the last three years.
We all know that there is a vital need for new housing in London, but garden-grabbing developments are not the way to deliver them.
COUNCILLOR DARREN JOHNSON AM (GREEN PARTY),
London Assembly, City Hall, Queen's Walk ,