The 2016/17 King’s Cross Sustainability report is now available to download at the bottom of the page.
Green infrastructure at King’s Cross
We have had the great privilege at King’s Cross, to create a new part of London from what was an under-used industrial site. This new neighbourhood is being built around a green framework. A whole 40% of the 67 acre development is given over to open space. A new network of streets and footpaths lead through parks, gardens and leafy squares.
As well as this, Regent’s Canal flows through the heart of the site. These routes, and the waterway, link with a wider network of green spaces in Camden and Islington. Over 400 new trees are being planted and where possible, walls and roofs are greened. In time this will be a lush, green neighbourhood, rich with natural life.
As well as creating a pleasant environment for everyone to enjoy, these green spaces deliver a whole range of economic and health benefits. They help wildlife to flourish and reduce the risk of flooding. The new trees for example provide shade, enhance air quality by absorbing pollutants and offer a resting place for birds.
Two acres of wild green space
We are also lucky to have Camley Street Natural Park as our neighbour. This charming two acre nature reserve on the banks of Regent’s Canal is run by London Wildlife Trust. The park was created from an old coal yard back in 1984, and is today home to birds, butterflies, bats and a whole variety of plant life. It’s hard to believe you’re right next to London’s biggest and busiest transport hub.
We work closely with the Trust, to enhance the park and to increase biodiversity across the development.
Living roofs and walls
The green walls and roofs at King’s Cross encourage flora and fauna to flourish in every possible space. 200m of green walls have been planted since 2012, including the one shown here, which is on York Way.
London Wildlife Trust is helping us with a Living Landscape strategy for the roofs at King’s Cross. As well as providing green outside space for the people who live and work in the buildings, the roofs supporting biodiversity and minimise the urban heat island effect by providing increased insulation.
The roof garden at Two Pancras Square is an example. Designed by Townshend Landscape Architects, this garden provides a retreat not just for the people who work in the building, but also for bees, insects and birds.
The Global Generation Skip Garden
The Global Generation Skip Garden is a community garden that has brought much needed green space to the site during the development phase. This garden moves around as King’s Cross is developed.
It’s known as “the garden of a thousand hands” and it was built, and is looked after, by Global Generation working with local young people and a whole host of volunteers. Through the medium of sustainability, the young people involved have developed new skills and networks, learned how to grow food, as well as how to market and sell their produce.
Fruit, vegetables and flowers are grown here in upcycled skips. In fact most of the garden is built using left-over building material from the site. As well as the plant life, the garden is home to a colony of bees and even has some resident chickens!
Delivering Green Infrastructure
We are working with a whole range of organisations to deliver a green King’s Cross. We partner with respected landscape architects, ecologists, designers and maintenance teams who create and maintain the parks, squares and streets. Infrastructure specialists are advising on sustainable urban drainage (SUDS) and rainwater collection to help reduce the impact on local watercourses.
The London Wildlife Trust monitors biodiversity and water quality. Through snapshot surveys they are helping us build a picture of how King’s Cross is becoming a place for nature, as well as ensuring that we minimise our impact on waterways, especially during the construction phase.
Read more about Green Infrastructure.