National Park City – Hackney

London borough to link up green spaces as part of National Park City movement

Horticulture Week, 25 January 2018, by Sarah Cosgrove,

The London borough of Hackney is planning to apply for HLF funding to make West Reservoir in Woodberry Down more accessible and link it to Woodberry Wetlands, as part of a project to better connect its green spaces.

The cabinet of the east London local authority has approved The Connecting Green Spaces programme, which will aim to improve park entrances and boundaries, promote better connections between green spaces, and connect green spaces together where they are currently dissected by roads.

It also agreed to formally endorse the campaign to make London the world’s first National Park City, following London Mayor Sadiq Khan’s own endorsement in the Draft London Environment Strategy.

Hackney cabinet member for Neighbourhoods, Transport and Parks, councillor Feryal Demirci said: “From the beautiful historic Springfield and Clissold Parks to Europe’s largest concentration of football pitches at Hackney Marshes – we are already one of the greenest inner London boroughs.

“However, most homes in Hackney have no garden, and as the number of homes in the borough continues to grow, it is important to identify how access to existing green space can be improved.

“Green space is crucial to public health – thousands of Hackney residents are affected by obesity brought on by a lack of physical activity. We need to provide attractive, green links to enable people to walk, cycle and play outside – connecting green spaces will help achieve this.”

Daniel Raven-Ellison, founder of the National Park City campaign, welcomed the move, saying that making London the world’s first National Park City was a unique opportunity.

“It’s been estimated that our public parks save the NHS nearly £1 billion a year in health costs, including £370 million as a result of better mental health. Making London a National Park City will help not only to make the city greener, but to increase the number of us benefitting from our public open spaces.”

The campaign and mayoral policy both have a target of making half of the capital green space. The strategy aims for this to happen by 2050 and for for tree canopy cover to increase by 10% by the same year.

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