Last month, I found out about the Greater London National Park campaign, and I have to say I got surprised!
I had never thought such an initiative could be possible!
Basically, the idea is to make London the world’s first national park city – ‘national park cities’ do not exist yet, and they believe that it is such an opportunity that should be taken. They say:
London is an incredibly diverse place. 8.3 million humans speaking 300 languages share the city with 13,000 wild species as well as lots of cats and dogs. (…) 60% of London is open land and 47% of Greater London is green. As well as the 3,000 parks, 142 local nature reserves, 36 sites of special scientific interest, 4 UNESCO World Heritage Sites and 2 National Nature Reserves within the city’s limits, there are 3.8 million private gardens. For its size, London is one of the very greenest cities in the world – something to celebrate.”
What would change?
The statutory purpose of national park status is to ‘conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area’ and ‘promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the park by the public.’ What if we took these ideas and applied them to London? I think this would radically change how we see, think about, design, manage and experience the city.”
He defendes that by being active outdoors in green space would improve collective health. Also, costs with air quality, climate change and flooding could be mitigated by a strong greening strategy that boosts natural habitats.
For the ones asking why should Londoners allow another layer of governance or saying it looks like a new bit of paper for status, they answer:
This is not a proposal to change planning policy in the capital. The Greater London National Park would not have the planning powers that so many residents in current National Parks dislike. Nor would it replace the thousands of organisations who are already doing incredible work across the capital. (…) The Park’s leadership role would be to inform and inspire best practice, help better to co-ordinate and promote London’s biodiversity and recreational opportunities.”
What are your thoughts? They’ve got a very complete website, with loads of information, and a petition to be signed.
They also support the Garden Bridge, which we have already spoken about.