Created 2 years ago, updated a month ago

Dataset last updated: 15th November 2021

This dataset provides indicative areas of biodiversity hotspots in Greater London, identified by research and data analysis using methods derived from the Greater London Authority’s (GLA) “Planning for Biodiversity?” report (2016).

The dataset has been created by Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC (GiGL). GiGL mobilises, curates and shares data that underpin our knowledge of London’s natural environment. We provide impartial evidence to enable informed discussion and decision-making in policy and practice. The dataset is based on GiGL partnership data which are continuously updated.

The underlying data for the dataset may have been subject to changes since the current version was modelled. Subsequent versions will provide updated information from the GiGL database annually. The dataset is a coarse-resolution presentation of high-resolution data. To access data at their original resolution, please contact GiGL or visit for more information.

Research for this dataset has been assisted by London and South East England Local Records Centres (LaSER) and the London Boroughs Biodiversity Forum (LBBF), and is based on advice provided by the Open Data Institute (ODI).


To meet Policy 7.19 of The London Plan (2017), the capital’s spatial development strategy, developers must “wherever possible, make a positive contribution to the protection, enhancement, creation and management of biodiversity”. This requires them to provide Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) enough ecological information in their development proposals that will allow LPAs to make a fully informed decision on whether to grant them planning permissions.

The Biodiversity Hotspots for Planning (BHP) dataset provides developers, homeowners and LPAs an indication of areas, where data are available, that have potential impacts on biodiversity and are likely to be relevant to local planning decisions by applying biodiversity criteria developed by GiGL, based on the original “Planning for Biodiversity?” research. ‘Hotspot’ areas indicate a detected presence of sensitive biodiversity that could potentially be affected by development. Original records can be accessed from GiGL to assist the decision-making process.

N.B. 1: Areas without these biodiversity indicator records may still have undetected biodiversity so should also be considered for biodiversity potential on a case-by-case basis.

N.B. 2: The dataset is purely indicative and an ecological desk study must still be commissioned as evidence for planning applications.


The GIS file shows London as 100m hexagon tiles. Each tile is scored for the known presence of protected species, sites and habitats impact areas based on the impact buffer size as specified in the criteria table below, giving a cumulative score range of 0 to 3. Tiles are considered a hotspot where impact areas overlap the tile by more than 10%.

Tiles with a score of 0 indicate that there are currently no known protected species, sites or habitats impact areas present in that area based on the criteria table, which excludes some protected species. Tiles with a score of 3 indicate the presence of impact areas for all three categories. Intermediate scores indicate the presence of impact areas for one or more of the categories without specifying which are present. The scores can be used in a thematic map to colour the tiles and visually indicate areas with greater presence of impact areas. A sample thematic map is provided.

The dataset will be updated annually using the latest protected species, sites and habitats data available to GiGL at time of creation. Please give GiGL appropriate credit when using, adapting or sharing the dataset following the guidance below:

In-text citation: GiGL, [dataset creation date]
Reference: "Biodiversity Hotspots for Planning" Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC, [dataset creation date]
Where data is used in maps: Map displays GiGL data [dataset creation date]
Where data is summarised but not mapped: Data provided by Greenspace Information for Greater London CIC [dataset creation date]

JPEG image file of the BHP criteria table


JPEG image file of BHP displayed as a thematic map


GIS tab file suitable for MapInfo


GIS shapefile suitable for ArcGIS/QGIS

Please use the layer file (.lryx) to apply correct symbology.