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London becomes a National Park City

Words: Laura Edgar
Primrose Hill / iStock-520047130

London has been awarded the status of a National Park City, the first capital city in the world to be designated as such.

The declaration was made on 22 July by the National Park City Foundation in recognition of London’s open spaces, waterways and natural environment.

The National Park City Foundation was set up by the National Park City campaign group and led by environmentalist Daniel Raven-Ellison and World Urban Parks.

To mark the achievement, there will be a week of 300 free ‘National Park City Festival’ events across London’s green spaces, wildlife habitats, green rooftops and waterways.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s election manifesto committed him to making the capital a National Park City, and updating the London Plan to require ‘greening’ in new developments through an Urban Greening Factor.

At the summit yesterday, the mayor co-signed the London National Park City Charter, which was developed by the foundation. It 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 Khan’s environment strategy.

By signing the charter, Khan has confirmed that he shares the collective ambition, responsibility and commitment to deliver on making London:

  • greener in the long-term than it is today and where people and nature are better connected;
  • protect its core network of parks and green spaces,
  • rich with wildlife;
  • a city where every child benefits from exploring, playing and learning outdoors; and
  • a city where all can enjoy high-quality green spaces, clean air, clean waterways and where more people choose to walk and cycle.

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 green belt and ensured greening in all new developments.”

Raven-Ellison, who started campaigning to make London a National Park City six years ago, added: “London becoming a National Park City is something for us all to be proud of ... 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.”

Image credit | iStock