FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Welsh Harp Reservoir


Frequently asked questions about London National Park City

What is a National Park City?

A National Park City is a place, a vision and a city-wide community that is acting together to make life better for people, places and nature. A defining feature is the widespread commitment to act so people, culture and nature work together to provide a better foundation for life and so we can enjoy ourselves too.

National Park Cities are long-term, large-scale, hyper- local, personal and intergenerational. Everyone in a National Park City has the potential to contribute and benefit every day. Any urban area or region can apply to join the National Park City Family. But only cities can achieve National Park City status.

London National Park City is not the same as a National Park, but we are part of the wider family. National Parks are defined differently around the world. They are special places where we have a better relationship with nature, culture and heritage and can enjoy and develop ourselves. Combining the long-term and large-scale vision of National Parks with cities has the potential to shift our collective understanding of what and who a city is for. So National Park Cities are not National Parks. But they are inspired by them.

The National Park City Foundation is the charity behind National Park Cities, established in 2017 to facilitate and oversee the London National Park City Partnership. London became the first of these in summer 2019, with Adelaide becoming the second in 2021. Having successfully campaigned to secure London and Adelaide’s National Park City status, the Foundation wants to bring the idea of National Park Cities to life all around the world.

London became the world’s first National Park City in July 2019; this followed four years of campaigning, after which it was confirmed on 9th February 2018 that sufficient political support had been achieved to make London a National Park City. The launch was supported by over 260 organisations, with a public launch incorporating over 300 events across London, and a ceremony isn City Hall with the Mayor of London and National Park City partners signing the Charter of the London National Park City.

No, London National Park City is an independent grassroots movement supported by and representing dozens of large and small organisations across London. We do not receive direct financial support from the Mayor, GLA or any Government organisation.

We were delighted to have the support of the Mayor of London and each of the Mayoral candidates at the time of launch in 2019. The Mayor championed the National Park City in the 2019 London Environment Strategy, and committed to manifesto policies aligned with ours including matching our target of making 50% of London physically green. The Mayor’s team led coordination and promotion of the first London National Park City Week in 2019, with hundreds of events taking place across the capital.

The Mayor of London has show great leadership on the National Park City, but the Greater London Authority is just one of over 9 million potential leaders in the capital. We hope that many people, groups and organisations will take inspiration from the London National Park City and take leadership in their own places.

The London National Park City Partnership was intended to comprise groups and organisations that are working together to make the London National Park City successful and to improve life in the city. The London National Park City Partnership should comprise groups and organisations drawn from a much larger collaborative network, giving leadership and direction to the London National Park City; who together should be responsible for delivering the State of the National Park City report and more.

We actively help promote the hundreds of active campaigns, organisations and local groups who are doing inspiring work collectively across our cities to get more people outdoors, and bring the outdoors to more people – improving the health and wellbeing of thousands of people.

We help people to take the lead in improving their own communities, supported by our growing community of volunteer Rangers, delivered in neighbourhoods and green spaces across the city in three ways:

  1. Celebrating the world’s first National Park City, promoting the work of the hundreds of grassroots and community groups leading on practical climate and biodiversity action.
  2. Growing our diverse community of 160 volunteer Rangers who run community gardens, deliver conservation work, lead outdoor activities, improve nature engagement, walks, talks, health and wellbeing activity in their own communities.
  3. Working collaboratively with London Boroughs, to connect individuals, families, educators, community leaders, campaigners, cultural and arts groups, with nature.

The London National Park City works with residents, visitors and partners to:

  1. Enjoy London’s great outdoors more
  2. Make the city greener, healthier and wilder
  3. Promote London’s identity as a National Park City.

Our vision is to make cities where people, places and nature are better connected. We want to make National Park Cities that are rich with nature and where everyone benefits from exploring, playing and learning outdoors. Cities where we all enjoy high quality public and green spaces, where the air is clean to breathe and it’s a pleasure to swim in their waters. Together we can make cities greener, healthier, fairer and more harmonious places to live. Why not?

The National Park City Foundation is an independent charity and we do not receive financial support from any level of government.

Instead we’re entirely funded by individual donations from ordinary Londoners and businesses, along with income we secure from contract income, grants and foundations. So we really do rely on your support to make London greener, healthier and wilder.

The Charter of the London National Park City is a short document that sets out our Partnership’s vision, aims, values and an action plan. While some of it will be set in stone, the action plan will be updated on a regular basis by the Partnership’s members. Individuals and small community groups as well as larger organisations will be able to influence both the action plan and other sections of the Charter.

The original London National Park City proposal included a draft Charter, which was followed by the first Charter of the London National Park City which is shorter and designed so that anyone can pick it up and see how they can both contribute to and benefit from the National Park City.

London National Park City is committed to producing a State of the National Park City Report on a regular basis that will be the way to track our collective progress toward achieving the collective goals of our partnership.

This report will be used to inform the London National Park City Partnership’s progress, decision making and activities. The next State of the National Park City Report is scheduled to be delivered in time for our 5th anniversary in July 2021.

It will include an overview of London National Park City after 5 years, perspectives from the partners who support London National Park City and may include representative data covering:

  • Air and water quality
  • Water management
  • Biodiversity and bio-abundance
  • Volunteering
  • Local food growing
  • Walking, cycling, kayaking and active travel
  • People’s connection to nature
  • Outdoor learning in schools
  • Key physical health outcomes
  • Key mental health outcomes
  • Investment and employment in National Park City related ventures
  • Community engagement with the National Park City related activities
  • Funding leveraged for related sectors

The London National Park City will be made successful by leadership at a local level. May it be on a balcony, in a garden, on your street, park, rooftop or local river, we can all be leaders in improving London’s environment and getting more people outdoors and connected to nature. So do take inspiration from London becoming a National Park City and start doing things to make your local area better.

Our growing community is made up of London’s existing dynamic and diverse organisations, making it easier for you to enjoy getting outdoors and giving you more choice of activities and locations. Each London borough and ward has a distinctive character which can be developed further by those who live, work and play in it – some have waterways or woodlands to explore, others green spaces, or the opportunity to develop green roofs, micro-parks or urban farming. It will also create new sustainable business opportunities as companies and people make the most of the area’s improved natural assets and resources.

London will continue to grow, develop and be a dynamic city with local councils and the Mayor of London using their formal planning powers to decide what gets built, where and how.

Being a National Park City presents the opportunity to create and construct green infrastructure and services, creating the more sustainable future London and Londoners need. Creating quality new affordable housing is a priority in London. Being a National Park City will encourage the creation of more sustainable, better connected, denser, greener, higher quality housing in London with more cohesive communities and networks and with a stronger and greener sense of place.

Read more about our position on planning and development.

None, directly.

London being a National Park City does not bring the kind of planning powers the UK’s other National Parks have. London National Park City would not directly control development or prepare planning policies. These powers would remain with the Greater London Authority, the 32 London boroughs, and the City of London Corporation. Being a National Park City will not add another layer of bureaucracy to decision-making in London.

As the Mayor of London and most local council wards support the London National Park City, they may choose to use their planning policies to support our shared aims. A good example of this is an aim we share with the Mayor’s target to make 50% of London physically green by 2050.

London National Park City is made up from all the individual contributions of people, groups and communities in every Borough. We have lots of ideas for things to make and do where you are, and you can find out about groups you can join (or start yourself) and events planned over the next few months.

You can visit us at our pop-up Visitors Centre at 109 Fleet Street, London, EC4A 2AB. Our live public experiment to explore how everyone can benefit and contribute every day in realising a city where all Londoners can connect with urban nature. We’re open to the public during weekday afternoons and by appointment.

Join our free online community for everyone who wants to make London greener, healthier and wilder. Connect, celebrate, discover, take part, and learn all about London National Park City from your peers.

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Sign up to find out how you can help make London healthier, wilder and greener and have some fun along the way.

Find ways to get involved, volunteer some time, or come along to one of the many events happening all across London.

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