Time to speak out for the UK's parks and green spaces

Sent to us from the National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces 
*  *  *  *  *  *  

www.natfedparks.org.uk                       

The National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces (NFPGS) is the umbrella organisation 

representing and amplifying the voices of the movement of over 6,000 local Friends Groups

throughout the UK                            

 
General Election  - time to speak out for the UK's parks and green spaces


May 2017

To all parks Friends/Community Groups around the UK   [please forward to all contacts]


PLEASE SPEAK OUT NOW! 

We urge all lovers of parks and green spaces to raise your voices at this important time. Please call on parliamentary candidates and political parties to agree to the following statement, and to include it in their leaflets, manifestos and public pronouncements:  "The UK’s parks and public green spaces are extremely popular and essential facilities for local neighbourhoods providing a wide range of unique benefits for all sections of our communities. Despite this they are facing an underfunding crisis and an uncertain future. The good management of these spaces should be a statutory duty, and they should be properly funded and protected."  

We are circulating a more detailed appeal letter to Friends Groups (link below). It sets out the importance of public green spaces, and the crisis being caused by severe public service cuts. It points out this has been recognised by the recent MPs' Select Committee Report (see point 3, below) and suggests ways we can lobby candidates and raise these issues widely. Please forward this link to the letter and appeal to all your members and contacts, and encourage those you know to speak out now.  

NFPGS letter to all Friends Groups:  http://www.natfedparks.org.uk/mediapool/118/1181937/data/NFPGSGenEl...  
 
OTHERS ALSO CALL FOR ACTION   

Many other organisations concerned with the future of green spaces are also calling for action by Government. A couple of examples are flagged up below.

- Fields In Trust, the organisation campaigning for effective protection for all the UK's parks and recreational open spaces, has issued 'A Manifesto for Parks - putting local green spaces at the heart of our communities.'  http://www.fieldsintrust.org/Upload/Documents/News/Fields_in_Trust_...

- The Parks Alliance, the lobbying and advocacy organisation for the green space sector, has issued a response to the Election, drawing on the Select Committee MPs' Report:  http://www.hortweek.com/commitment-parks-task-force-open-space-stra...


MPs SOUND THE ALARM  

The Communities & Local Government MPs' Select Committee Inquiry into Public Parks produced a report on the importance of the UK's parks and the unacceptable threats to their future. They also made a range of recommendations to urge immediate action, support for the Friends Groups movement, and strategic thinking at all levels. They had planned to reconvene to review the effectiveness of their recommendations in reversing the slide into crisis, but the calling of the General Election has created uncertainty about this. You can read more about this:

-       The Committee Report:  https://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmcomlo...    

-       What the public think:   Https://spark.adobe.com/page/Cu7ttIsXspLhK/ 

OTHER PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEES RAISE FURTHER CONCERNS ABOUT GREEN SPACE

The NFPGS were invited to address the Tidy Britain All Party Parliamentary Group's AGM at Westminster in February 2017 regarding the best ways to support parks in difficult times. There was a great deal of concern expressed about the green space crisis and the need for urgent action to ensure parks are properly funded and managed. The NFPGS were also invited that month to Westminster to attend the All Party Parliamentary Group for Civic Societies to debate the Government's Housing White Paper and in particular concerns about inappropriate development threats to Green Belt and green space generally.  The NFPGS view calling for the management of public green spaces to be made a statutory service was echoed by speaker Lord Shipley, the Liberal Democrat's Shadow Minister for Housing, and Vice President of the Local Government Association.

ACTION DEMANDED OVER CHILDREN'S PLAYGROUNDS UNDER THREAT

In April this year it was revealed that public service cuts have led to the closure of hundreds of children's playgrounds by local Councils. A spokesperson for the Association of Play Industries said that government investment of around £100m was needed to reverse the closures. He pointed out that this "goes against the Government's clear intention to get children more active and needs to be stopped as quickly as possible."

THE FRIENDS GROUPS' MOVEMENT AND OUR INFLUENCE CONTINUES TO GROW

Your local parks/green spaces have their own specific issues and needs which ought to be heard and addressed.  With over 6,000 local Friends Groups around the UK and millions of park lovers, this is a growing and powerful force and we encourage you to publicly raise the profile of your local parks and the benefits that they afford your local communities.  Your group can influence future MPs and political parties who will make funding and other decisions that will impact your local parks. Please consider writing to your local newspapers too, joining radio phone-ins, and spreading ideas on social media.

This is an opportunity to make our local parks a priority.

Thank you for your efforts


Yours sincerely

  
Sarah Royal and Dave Morris
National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces
www.natfedparks.org.uk

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This is v. important in Haringey where the council doesn't event contribute to the GLA street tree database. See the report hereFound on twitter from

@thestreettree

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