Over 80 local and national organisations have signed up as ‘Friends of Greater London National Park’- supporting the campaign to turn London into the world’s first National Park City. A further 1585 people have signed the petition, urging others to also back the initiative.
“A city park or garden can be more ecologically diverse and rich, and provide more pleasure to a community, than a much wider area of land somewhere more remote. It could help millions of people to develop new relationships with nature,” says Daniel Raven-Ellison, the driving force behind the idea.”
For its size, London is already one of the greenest cities in the world, with 13 000 species of wildlife. It is 60 per cent open land, and 47 per cent of Greater London is greenspace. It sports 3000 parks, 142 local nature reserves, four UNESCO World Heritage Sites and two National Nature Reserves, as well as 3.8 million private gardens and eight million trees.
The purpose of a Greater London National Park would be similar to other UK National Parks. It would conserve and enhance its natural and cultural heritage, promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of London’s green spaces, and foster the economic and social well-being of local communities. So all Londoners can work together in partnership, to enable and support the creation of a better environment, economy and quality of life, for visitors, residents and workers.
The campaign has identified six key areas where the London National Park would have the greatest impact:
1. Children – A National Park City could have a profound influence on our children. It would open up new opportunities for young people to be healthy, spend quality time with family, improve their outdoor education and grow up as creative citizens.
2. Health – Actively enjoying quality green space improves our mental health, physical health and well-being. It not only saves money on health services, but can also improve productivity in the workplace.
3. Wealth – The Greater London National Park will put London on the map as the birthplace of a new National Park City movement. It will not only inspire new kinds of business in the capital, but actively work to promote opportunities for recreation and tourism in London’s outer boroughs.
4. Recreation – London is an incredible, inspirational and accessible landscape to explore. The Greater London National Park would promote the city’s long distance footpaths, 50 canoe clubs and numerous other often forgotten opportunities to enjoy open-air recreation.
5. Environment – The National Park will create a common vision for the city that all Londoners will understand. Activities will lead to better management of the capital’s green and blue infrastructure, and as a result, increased resilience against pollution, flooding, climate change and other risks.
6. Nature – Londoners share a long history appreciating and protecting wildlife. The Park would both celebrate our achievements in conserving green space and inspire a generation to think creatively about our future relationship with nature.
For more information, visit: www.greaterlondonnationalpark.org.uk.