London, 9th February 2018

London soon to become the world’s first National Park City

London is a step closer to becoming the world’s first National Park City as the idea has now secured the backing not just of the Mayor of London and members of the London Assembly but a majority of London’s 654 local council ward teams - the local authority councillors elected by Londoners.

With this broad mandate, leaders of the campaign will be working with the Mayor and Londoners across the capital to launch the National Park City in 2019.

Inspired by the aims and values of Britain’s national parks, the London National Park City will celebrate the capital’s remarkable urban landscape and work with Londoners to make the city greener, healthier and more enjoyable.

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London said:

“It is fantastic news that so many Londoners are getting behind our ambition of making the capital the first National Park City. I’m committed to working to make this a reality and have already ensured I’m protecting and investing in our outstanding green spaces with my draft London Plan and £9m Greener City Fund. I’ll be working closely with the Foundation to help us reach our goal of declaring London a National Park City in 2019.”



Daniel Raven-Ellison, Founder of the London National Park City campaign said:

“London being the world’s first National Park City is backed by Mayor Sadiq Khan, London Assembly members and local councillors of all parties. Thanks to thousands of Londoners contacting their local ward councillors, a majority of local politicians now back the idea of London as a National Park City.

“In recent weeks councillors in Bexley, Hackney, Kingston and Southwark have joined ward teams across the capital from Barnet and Bromley to Wandsworth and Westminster to show cross-party support for London to be the world’s first National Park City.

“Making London a National Park City is the capital’s big chance to recognise everything that is done by communities, businesses and councils to make our city greener, richer in wildlife and better for Londoners’ health and well-being - and to challenge us to do even better. With London set to be National Park City in 2019, let’s take pride and use the time to make our streets, gardens and balconies as green and beautiful as we can.”



Architect and planner Sir Terry Farrell said:

"We at Farrells enthusiastically support the London National Park City. 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."



Beth Collier, Chair of Natural Health Service (London), said:

“London National Park City will help nurture a city culture which values the relationship between nature and wellbeing. Nature is vital for our emotional health, it’s capacity to reduce stress, depression and anxiety is an essential antidote to stressful and often isolated city lifestyles. London parks already bring £370 million in mental health savings and it could be much more. Being close to nature is one of the easiest ways we can attend to self care, providing us with a free health service."



Judy Ling Wong CBE, President Black Environment Network said:

“London National Park City’s vision of more nature within the built environment, achieved through the agency and leadership of local people, will inspire the participation of individuals and communities to see where they live and work with new eyes. We look forward to the contribution of the multicultural communities of London to a greener storied landscape as a setting for a rich urban cultural life anchored in nature.”



David Elliott, Chief Executive of Trees for Cities said:

“The declaration of London as the world’s first National Park City will signify that its ‘green infrastructure’ is as valuable to its citizens as the physical structures around us.  Access to urban nature is one of the most vital components of a liveable city, and as a National Park City we must ensure that future generations have the opportunity to live and thrive around ever-improving green and blue spaces.”

 

Dave Morris of the London Green Spaces Friends Groups Network said:

“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.“

 

Robert MacFarlane, author of award winning books The Lost Words and Landmarks, exploring words, nature, landscape and the relationship between the two said:

"What a moment for London: a celebration of the wealth of biodiversity and greenness that the city holds, an acknowledgement of how vitally urban lives are bound up with - and enriched by - nature, and a vision for the future of how to deepen and improve our relations with the living world - for what is good for nature is also good for us all."

ENDS

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Notes to editors

  1. A full list of Local council ward teams and councils that have declared support for London to be the world’s first National Park City can be found here: http://www.nationalparkcity.london/ward_support. Councillors can still declare their support via this link.
  2. London National Park City’s aims include working with Londoners to:

 

  • Connect more people to nature and the outdoors, improving their health, wellbeing and social cohesion;
  • Create more high quality green and blue space and better places in London, delivering improvements for wildlife, people’s enjoyment and an attractive and sustainable environment for living and working in;
  • Promote the identity of London as the world’s first National Park City, helping residents and visitors to appreciate the potential for a rich cultural life anchored in its outdoor heritage;
  • Link people to the national and international family of national parks and other protected areas.

 

  • A London National Park City will not have any planning powers or add new layers of bureaucracy. It will add value by creating an unprecedented opportunity to make London not just a political, financial and cultural centre, but an ecological centre too.
  • The National Park City Foundation is the charity created to help make the London National Park City a success. It will do this by amplifying, catalysing and spreading best practice, joining-up initiatives, increasing investment into National Park City related activities and galvanising Londoners to take actions improving city life.
  • Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has made London National Park City a centre-piece of his plans for London; for example, citing National Park City aims in his draft Environment Strategy and his draft London Plan - the Capital’s planning masterplan. This includes a shared aim to make half of London green by 2050.
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