Mayor hosts summit as London becoming world’s first National Park City
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20th July 2019
Mayor hosts summit to mark London becoming world’s first National Park City
London will this week become the first capital city in the world to be awarded the status of a National Park City in recognition of the capital’s open spaces, waterways and natural environment.
The declaration will be made by the National Park City Foundation, the charity established by the original National Park City campaign group and led by environmentalist Daniel Raven-Ellison and World Urban Parks, an international organisation championing urban parks. It will take place at a special summit hosted by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan on Monday 22nd July.
To celebrate and mark this achievement the Mayor is launching a week of 300 free ‘National Park City Festival’ events across London’s green spaces, wildlife habitats, green rooftops and waterways.
The Mayor committed as part of his manifesto to help London become a National Park City and has prioritised protecting and enhancing the green belt, increasing and maintaining green spaces and tree canopy and making more than half of the capital green. Sadiq has updated the London Plan to require ‘greening’ in new developments through an Urban Greening Factor as well as continuing to protect the green belt.
Sadiq has already helped fund the planting of a record 170,000 trees in just three years – more than under the previous Mayor’s two administrations - and 200 green space improvement projects stretching over 175 hectares. The Mayor’s team also developed pioneering high-tech mapping of London’s green cover to identify the extent of London’s greening and help monitor improvements to ensure Sadiq’s targets remain on track.
Sadiq will launch the celebrations today (Saturday 20th July) by officially opening London’s newest swimming lake at Beckenham Place Park, the first large-scale green space improvement project funded by his Green Capital grant scheme. Other larger scale projects funded by the Mayor’s scheme include:
• Ripple Nature Reserve and Greenway (Barking and Dagenham) - a 23km walking and cycling route creating safe routes to school and access to the nature reserve for local residents.
• Brent River Park: Greenford to Gurnell Greenway (Ealing) – transforming 18 hectares of underused and disconnected green space, opening up routes and views along the river and improving biodiversity with new reed beds, wetlands, meadows, woodland and orchards
• Headstone Manor Park (Harrow) – helping to preserve the quality of the 14th century moat – a focal point in the park. Creating new wetlands, pond dipping and outdoor learning opportunities.
At the summit, the Mayor will co-sign the London National Park City Charter developed by the Foundation, which sets out key actions to make London a city where people, places and nature are better connected and matches the long term goals in the Mayor’s Environment Strategy. Other cities in the UK and across the world will be encouraged to follow London’s lead in becoming a National Park City.
The summit will attended by a range of international environmental organisations, social enterprises and community groups, demonstrating how grassroots action is making the city greener, healthier and wilder. Speakers will include supporters such as Action for Conservation and Parkour Generations, plus Natural England, the International Union for Nature Conservation (Urban Alliance), ICLEI and World Urban Parks who will endorse London’s status.
By signing the charter, the Mayor is confirming he shares the collective ambition, responsibility and commitment to deliver on making London:
• a city which is greener in the long-term than it is today and where people and nature are better connected
• a city which protects its core network of parks and green spaces and where buildings and public spaces aren’t defined only by stone, brick, concrete, glass and steel
• a city that is rich with wildlife
• a city where every child benefits from exploring, playing and learning outdoors
• a city where all can enjoy high-quality green spaces, clean air, clean waterways and where more people choose to walk and cycle
Ahead of the declaration the Mayor is launching the National Park City Festival this weekend, working with the National Park City Foundation and partners including the National Theatre and London Wildlife Trust, on events highlighting the importance, beauty and breadth of London’s green spaces and encouraging Londoners to get out and discover the green spaces on their doorstep.
National Park City Festival events are all free to attend and highlights include outdoor theatre performances of The Gruffalo, a ‘Pedal-Powered Party’ with live DJs Supa Dupa Fly and Night Czar, Amy Lamé, and a unique audio installation in Epping Forest. A full programme of events is available at www.london.gov.uk/national-park-city.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am proud to have helped London, one of the greenest world cities, be recognised as the world’s first National Park City. This status is a truly fantastic reflection of our vibrant and dynamic city and our amazing network of green spaces, rivers and natural habitats. We must do all we can to help tackle the global climate emergency and ecological crisis and address the decline in biodiversity. That is why I’ve delivered 200 green space improvements, planted over 170,000 trees, protected the greenbelt and ensured greening in all new developments.
“To mark London becoming the first National Park City, our festival will provide hundreds of free events for everyone to enjoy across the capital’s beautiful green spaces, rooftops and waterways.”
Daniel Raven-Ellison, who started campaigning 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.”
Jayne Miller, Chair of World Urban Parks, said: “London, the First National Park City! What an amazing moment for the City. 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!”
Notes to editors
1, To attend the City Hall National Park City Declaration Summit at 9.45am on Monday please email [email protected]
2, More than 300 National Park City Festival events will take place July 20th – 28th across London. More information and full events listings can be found here: www.london.gov.uk/national-park-city
• The Mayor is delivering his objectives by including policies in your London Plan and London Environment Strategy that will:
make more than half of the capital green by 2050 and increase tree canopy cover by 10 per cent
prevent the loss of Green Belt, public green space and natural habitats
accelerate the installation of green roofs and other ‘urban greening’ in new developments to combat poor air quality, reduce flooding and keep the city cool
support boroughs to find new ways to invest in and improve parks and green spaces through promoting the concepts of green infrastructure and natural capital and convening the London Green Spaces Commission
create Healthy Streets to encourage more walking and cycling
enhance habitats for wildlife by providing advice to land-managers and Londoners on how to improve the ecological value of green spaces, gardens and building
3, The Mayor’s Natural Capital Account report shows that for each £1 spent on public green space, Londoners enjoy at least £27 in value, including £950 million per year in avoided health costs – to see the report visit https://bit.ly/2Y4p0s3