An initiative to have London designated as a Park City – the first anywhere- is gathering momentum with the backing of a majority of the 654 local council wards.
Promoted by the National Park City Foundation and backed by the Mayor of London in the draft London Plan, draft Environment Strategy and the £9million Greener City Fund, the intent is to formalise London as the first National Park City next year in 2019. This would adapt the model of non-urban National Parks to formally recognise the value of ‘green infrastructure’ throughout Greater London to the wellbeing and prosperity of its populations.
The National Park City concept does not include an extra layer of bureaucracy or additional planning powers but increases awareness of best ecological practice, connects local green initiatives and provokes actions by citizens and councils to improve the sustainability of city life.
The vision is captured most eloquently by architect and planner Sir Terry Farrell: “Its premise is that we need to improve the accessibility and integration of our green and wild spaces so that they can be used to their full potential for education, recreation, healthy living, and food production, as well as to ensure the protection of natural habitats. The London National Park City is one vision that will inspire a million projects – a long term and large scale challenge that we can all respond to through many small and achievable actions.”
Dave Morris of the London Green Spaces Friends Groups Network recognises that “London’s 3,000 public green spaces are essential facilities for all neighbourhoods yet are scandalously underfunded and under pressure from development. We continue to urge everyone to back the National Park City idea as a glorious opportunity to raise the profile, recognition and need for long term protection of all such spaces.“