We want planning and development in London to be an opportunity to advance London as a National Park City. We believe London’s variety of green and open spaces should be protected, respected and improved and should not be the subject to pressures from development. Individually and as a network London’s green and open spaces provide enormous benefits to Londoners, visitors, to neighbourhoods and to wildlife alike.
We call on developers and planning authorities to avoid advancing proposals that add to the loss of nature and habitats in Greater London. Instead they should contribute to the capital’s green-blue infrastructure when creating new or renovating existing built environment.
Equally, although the use of previously developed ‘brownfield’ land is desirable this also requires care and attention to retain particular natural features and species that have come to occupy ‘brownfield’ land, having been displaced from other locations.
We acknowledge that London is constantly evolving and that development can vary hugely in quality and benefit. There is certainly need for London to upgrade its ageing infrastructure and to provide quality homes and other development in ways which protect and enable nature, wildlife and people to thrive in a greener, resilient, sustainable city.
There were 90,000 planning applications in Greater London in 2015 and more than 123,000 individual planning applications were submitted in England in the first three months of 2017 alone. It is beyond the ability of any one organisation to engage with them all. A variety of local, regional and national organisations is already involved in protecting and defending London’s green and open spaces and many individuals also act to successfully challenge and improve development proposals.
The National Park City Foundation and campaign is not indifferent to the pressures on land or where development may be below standard or inappropriate. But we do not have the resources to take on individual cases. Nor is it the National Park City’s role to duplicate the work of other organisations. There are many organisations already doing good work on planning and development such as CPRE London, the London Wildlife Trust, the RSPB, the Woodland Trust, plus countless local organisations.
The London National Park City also lacks the statutory planning powers of official established National Parks but it still implores developers and planners to protect nature and to put nature and people at the heart of all new developments. That is why, alongside the good work of many others, the London National Park City seeks to champion the intrinsic and social value of publicly accessible green and open space. The National Park City Foundation will also seek to shape the various London Mayoral policies which set the direction and policy for development.
As part of advancing London as a National Park City, the National Park City Foundation encourages those involved in the planning, design, development, construction, management and maintenance of Greater London to regard development as an opportunity to meet societal challenges, to take pride in contributing positively and holistically to the health and well-being of Londoners including reversing the decline in nature, natural resources, and supporting community coherence including contact with nature, heritage and the urban realm. This can be achieved through innovative design, master planning and professional whether applied to the incorporation of energy efficiency systems, the choice of materials or how people are connected to the sense of nature and sense of place through the imaginative provision of spaces for social and cultural activities.
The London National Park City will continue to signpost people and communities to help and advice including online services to help challenge and improve planning proposals, such as: CPRE London; London Wildlife Trust; RSPB and Woodland Trust and also other resources such as:
- Neighbourhood planning committees
- The Town & Country Planning Association’s Planning for a healthy environment sets out good practice guidance for green infrastructure and biodiversity
- The Design Council’s guide on the Built Environment
The UK Government’s guide on the planning system