Ninety-four per cent of green spaces and parks on endangered list

Is your local green space or park one of the 94% (over 20,000) that could disappear tomorrow?

Green open spaces and parks across Great Britain, equivalent to twice the size of London could be lost forever, unless communities proactively encourage their local authorities and park owners to step up and protect today.

Green space charity Fields in Trust is urging everyone to get behind its ParkXtinction campaign which aims to protect those parks that are currently endangered, before it’s too late and they are lost to building development, forever.

Consider the local park where you walk your dog, take your children to the swings, or just enjoy a walk around regularly for fresh air.

With the COP26 conference in full swing, the charity is urging everyone to check if their local park is one of those on the endangered list by visiting www.parkxtinction.org. For those that are in danger, action can be taken to protect them. Green spaces can be legally protected via a deed of dedication, by forming a binding legal commitment, requiring owners to preserve sites for recreational use forever.

Research from Fields in Trust finds that Britain’s parks and green spaces capture 402,000 tonnes of carbon annually, the equivalent of taking 320,565 cars off the road every single year.

Fields in Trust President, The Duke of Cambridge, launched the charity’s Green Space Index of Parks provision back in May 2021. The Green Space Index is Fields in Trust’s annual barometer of publicly accessible park and green space provision. Through the Green Space Index, Fields in Trust is taking stock of the nation's quantity of local parks and green spaces and providing analysis on their impact.

Aiming to positively change the dial on climate change, the Duke of Cambridge said during a visit earlier this year with Fields in Trust: “The Green Space Index will provide a key tool for Local Authorities to identify inequity of access to green spaces, and to protect them for communities, now and in the future.”

Among the countless messages of feedback received by the charity during the unprecedented 18 months during a global pandemic, one person commented: “During lockdown, the park was probably a lifesaver for me in terms of my mental health."

The Climate Change Committee (CCC) has identified that the total proportion of urban green space in England declined between 2001 and 2018 from 63% to 55% of urban areas. The most recent CCC report to Government recommends that an urban greenspace target should be introduced by 2022 to reverse this decline and ensure towns and cities are more climate resilient.

Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive, Fields in Trust said: “My hope for COP26 is that the bold actions that are needed to meet the challenges ahead are recognised.

“Local response to climate action is crucial, and parks can play an important role in creating a greener and fairer economy. They can help tackle health and opportunity inequalities among communities and we must, without question, commit to preserving the green lungs of our towns and cities.

“This all sits within the powers of our local leaders, and this is an opportunity now to change the way we think about the contribution local green spaces make to our health, our wellbeing, our environment, and ultimately our futures.

“These parks and green spaces are under threat today, from financial and development pressures and it is up to all of us to stem this cycle of disappearance and decline. Our children and grandchildren deserve to have the same green space opportunities that we did, so we need to act today before it’s too late.

“I call upon local authorities, private landowners and members of the public to check if the local park you enjoy today is endangered via this ParkXtinction link.”

Without urgent action, Britain’s public green space is set to decrease, putting more pressure on fewer green spaces to support the health and wellbeing of communities, now and in the future.

Helen continued: “A recent community campaign led to 100 parks and green spaces in Liverpool becoming legally protected, Wrexham County Borough has committed to protect ten country parks as part of a drive to carbon neutral operations, and the City of Edinburgh Council is also protecting the majority of its urban green space. So, the appetite for protecting green spaces is there, we need civic leaders and local councillors to come on board urgently. The Fields in Trust website provides information on endangered green spaces in your area. Click here to check your local green space, and if it isn’t protected find out how you can help us reduce the gap quickly.”

Visit the dedicated website to make a positive change today and protect your local park www.parkxtinction.org

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