The first Biodiversity Action Plan for London, produced in 2007, includes “wastelands” as a distinctive category of habitat. Yet changes in the scope and orientation of municipal government for London since the 1980s mark a marginalization of scientific expertise and a reorientation in planning discourse towards development interests. Perhaps more than any other aspect of nature conservation urban sites reveal tensions between aesthetic discourses, scientific autonomy, and the interests of the state in its ambivalent guise as both “protector” of urban bio-diversity but also “enabler” of development. Cut backs in state funding for taxonomic research and nature conservation agencies have led to emerging critical skills shortages for key groups of biological indicators such as insects. Professional botanists, entomologists and others have noted that bio-diversity policy and the protection of “wild nature” is often driven by a public-relations emphasis on certain easily recognizable “flagship species” (see Lorimer, 2007) rather than detailed knowledge about sites, species and the ecological dynamics of urban space.