An interesting campaign to turn London into a National Park.
A plan that would give the sites of importance for nature in London greater protection. Perhaps that would make Bexley Council take more account of the importance of sites for wildlife before rushing to allow development.
The Greater London National Park* would be the world’s first urban national park that encompasses an entire city. The park is unique in recognising the value of its urban habitat, celebrating its beauty, wildlife, built environment and cultural heritage.
Today, London covers 1,572 km² and is shared by over 8 million resident people and over 13,000 species of wildlife.
The Park is marked by the Thames, Britain’s second longest river, which cuts across the city from west to east. Inside the Park’s boundaries are two Special Protected Areas, three Special Areas of Conservation, two National Nature Reserves, 36 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 142 formal Local Nature Reserves, 30,000 allotments, 65,000 stands of woodland and an estimated 3.8 million gardens, each with their own unique potential for life to thrive.
The land upon which London is built today has felt the footsteps of our ancestors since prehistoric times. Palaeolithic flint hand axes that could be 100,000 years old have been found in the heart of London. The city itself is nearly 2,000 years old having been founded by the Romans in c. AD 50 as Londinium. Today, London is one of the world’s most famous cities and home to four UNESCO World Heritage Sites – one of the highest densities in the world.
A wealth of recreational opportunities are available across the Greater London National Park*. In addition to being able to explore London’s rivers, parks and gardens by bike or on foot, the more adventurous can plan to walk the London LOOP, a 152 mile (245km) long distance footpath that circles around the edge of the entire park.
Looked after by millions of individuals and thousands of organisations, the Greater London National Park* is diverse, dynamic and welcoming and open for you to explore.
More information on the campaign at: http://www.greaterlondonnationalpark.org.uk/
The petition can be signed at: http://www.change.org/p/let-s-make-london-the-world-s-first-national-park-city-glnp
The campaign that the Mayor has already replied to their petition
Update: The Mayor of London has replied to our petition and “commends the campaign organisers for their inventiveness” and says the “idea of a [London] ‘National Park’ is an engaging way of sparking debate” but that “he does not have powers to ‘create’ a new class of urban National Park”. We disagree. Please tell the Mayor he does have the power to make London a National Park City by signing and sharing this petition.
A Greater London National Park has the very potential to improve biodiversity, recreation, health, planning and design across the capital. It would allow for new thinking, solutions and opportunities, with the power to transform how we look after London’s environment, educate our children, design our gardens and much, much more.
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. You may be excused of thinking there was not much space for all these Londoners, but 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.
Although it may seem counter-intuitive at first, London would make an outstanding National Park for British and foreign visitors to enjoy alike. National Parks are currently funded by central government to conserve and enhance their natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage; and promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the public. There is no reason why this thinking could not be applied to an incredible urban habitat like London as much as a remote and rural one.
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 Greater London National Park would be a new kind park, a ‘National Park City’ that would aim to conserve London’s awesome ability to be dynamic, innovate and evolve. 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.