Press Release

15 July 2019 - For immediate release

London becomes the world’s first National Park City

The National Park City Foundation (NPCF) will confirm London as the world’s first National Park City on Monday 22 July at a City Hall Summit hosted by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. [1]

Organisations and individuals will sign a London National Park City Charter demonstrating their support for making the city greener, healthier and wilder.

The day before, on Sunday 21 July, the National Park City Foundation in partnership with World Urban Parks and Salzburg Global Seminar will publish the first International Charter for National Park Cities in response to various leaders in cities around the world, setting out a vision for how other cities in the UK and worldwide can follow London’s lead. [2]

London’s new status comes during a week-long National Park City Festival of free celebratory events, helping people enjoy and engage with the great outdoors in London. Organised in partnership with the Mayor of London, more than 300 events are being run by organisations, community groups and businesses across the capital. [3]

A crowdfunded National Park City ‘Maker’ newspaper is also being distributed showing how people, communities, business and others can be involved in making London National Park City a reality. Designers, Urban Good, will also publish a National Park City map for getting outside in the Royal Borough of Greenwich. [4]

On 22 July, campaigners in Newcastle upon Tyne will launch their campaign for their city to become the UK’s next National Park City. A campaign is already running in Glasgow.

Daniel Raven-Ellison, who started the campaign to make London a National Park City six years ago, said:

“London becoming a National Park City is something for us all to be proud of. Inspired by the aims and values of our precious rural national parks, the London National Park City is fundamentally about making life better in the capital through both small everyday things and long-term strategic thinking.

“We’ve been doing that in London for centuries, which is why London is so green and diverse, and why we can make it a National Park City today. It’s about lifting our ambitions; going further to make the city greener, healthier and wilder; improving our mental health; cleaning our air; making the city richer in wildlife; freeing children to play and meet friends outdoors again; tackling the climate crisis and bringing more joy to the city.

“Everybody can benefit and contribute everyday by starting to think of the place they live as part of the National Park City and doing simple things like making a balcony or garden better for nature, walking more or going kayaking on the Thames.”

Author Robert Macfarlane said:

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

Jayne Miller, Chair of World Urban Parks, said:

“London, the First National Park City! What an amazing moment for the London. Celebrating, honouring and recognising the biodiversity and greenness of this great city. The lifeblood of a city is its people and their connection to the place we inhabit, our great earth and all of its natural riches. London is challenging cities around the world to venerate, protect and increase the green spaces in our cities. Let’s all get out and enjoy the great outdoors!”

On Monday 22 July, to coincide with London’s National Party City status, campaigners in Newcastle will launch their campaign for the city to be the UK’s next National Park City.


James Cross, chief executive of Newcastle Parks and Allotments Trust, an independent charity responsible for the management and upkeep of the city’s 33 parks and 64 allotment sites, said:

“Becoming a National Park City signals our commitment to make life better for people, wildlife and nature. I want our campaign to be a beacon that inspires communities in Newcastle and the wider region to value, cherish and celebrate our amazing parks, allotments and green spaces. That in doing so we feel happier, healthier and more fulfilled; that the places people care about are more vibrant and beautiful; and that people, nature and the local economy thrive.

“Over the summer we’re asking members of the public, businesses and community groups for their thoughts on what our shared ambition should be. How do we express our commitment to preserve our natural environment and how can we collectively make Newcastle a greener and healthier city?”

ENDS

Contacts:

Tim Webb: 07746 896 986 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download our Wordmark and/or Aster from http://www.nationalparkcity.london/identity

For enquiries about Newcastle - David Brookbanks 07948 563 612 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes to Editors

[1] London National Park City (LNPC) is a place, a vision and a movement to improve life in London by making London greener, healthier and wilder. www.nationalparkcity.london/

The National Park City Foundation (NPCF) is the charity behind London National Park City. www.nationalparkcity.org/

We want to get more people out more of the time and to shape a new identity for London and Londoners reflecting the capital’s natural assets and how they underpin the culture and heritage of the city and the health of its people.

The grassroots movement to make London a National Park City is backed by businesses and a majority of political leaders across parties including London councillors and London Assembly Members.

Lead candidates in the last London Mayoral elections also supported London being a National Park City and, having made it part of his successful election manifesto, Sadiq Khan, has been gearing policies and actions accordingly.

[2] The NPCF has consulted on an international charter for National Park Cities worldwide to be launched on Sunday 21 July, the day before the Summit. The NPCF is aiming for at least 25 National Park Cities by 2025 and is already in discussion with other UK and world cities to help them gain NPC status.

[3] The National Park City Festival (20-28 July) nationalparkcity.london.gov.uk organised in coordination with the Mayor of London, celebrates London's green spaces, wildlife, green rooftops and waterways, and aims to help a wide range of Londoners discover new environmental, cultural, sporting and community activities.

More than 300 free events will be staged across the week, helping more people get in tune with nature and the outdoors; improving health, well-being and social cohesion. Key events including activities with the National Theatre and Open City are:

  • National Park City Stage -For the opening weekend of the festival, City Hall will host a spectacular free cultural programme in partnership with the National Theatre, on its outdoor River Stage on the Southbank. Performances will celebrate everything green and wild about the city. There will be a mix of dance, theatre and music, with a range of performances for all ages.
  • National Park City Rooftops -In partnership with Open City, organisers of Open House, we are offering free access to some of London’s most dynamic and beautiful rooftop gardens and natural spaces.
  • National Park City Splash -London’s first multi-site outdoor swimming and paddle sports event will see everybody, whatever level their ability, able to try their hand at activities such as stand-up paddle-boarding and open-water swimming.
  • National Park City Forest - An ever-changing musical installation in partnership with Waltham Forest, London Borough of Culture 2019. Living Symphonies is a musical composition that grows in the same way as a forest ecosystem, heard from a network of speakers hidden throughout Epping Forest.
  • National Park City Wildlife - A London wildlife photography competition and exhibition delivered in partnership with the London Wildlife Trust and Museum of London exhibited in Kings Cross. Judges of the competition include Bear Grylls (adventurer), David Lindo (Urban Birder and BBC Presenter) and photographer Sam Hobson (former Wildlife Photographer of the Year winner).

[4] Urban Good https://urbangood.org/

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