It’s now official that London will be the world’s first national park city! A move announced today will grant the city of London National Park status in 2019! The move to grant London this unique status was welcomed by the Mayor of London and the vast majority of the London Assembly.
A few months ago I wrote a blog post on how London could be the world’s first national park city; a concept that hasn’t generally been considered in cities around the world, but it makes a lot more sense than you might first think.
For an area home to nearly 9 million people, London has a huge amount of green and natural space. A study by Greenspace Information for Greater London found that 47% of London is ‘physically green’. There are more than 850km of streams, rivers and canals, 8.3 million trees, and four UNESCO World Heritage Sites all within London.
According to Natural England, a National Park must be a landscape that is an ‘extensive tract of country’. The designation is granted because of it’s natural beauty and the opportunities it affords for open-air recreation with wildlife, cultural heritage, and opportunities to promote the understanding and enjoyment of an area’s special qualities to the public all being taken into account, which is certainly something that London can offer!
There are four main aims for London as a National Park City, all of which will improve London enormously!
- Connect more people to nature and the outdoors, improving 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 visiting, 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 of its nature and outdoor heritage;
- Link people to the national and international family of national parks and other protected areas
This move is monumental and incredibly exciting. London will be the first National Park City and show other cities around the world that cities are so much more than an economic hub. The environment can have a home in an urban setting!
Congratulations to everyone involved! This could be the start of something amazing all around the world!