Open Letter to London's Councillors

The letter below calls for elected councillor teams across London to back London to become a National Park City. Signed by a wide range of leading health, conservation, education, planning, culture and other experts, it was posted to councillors in 474 London wards on the 26th of April 2016.

Dear Representatives,

We need your support to make London the world’s first National Park City.

For London to be declared a National Park City, two-thirds of London’s 654 wards and the Mayor of London must declare their support. 180 wards have already given their backing, but a further 256 wards are needed. As experts in health, education, conservation, business, culture and planning, we would like your help to turn this vision into a reality.

The benefits are clear. From children’s development to improved physical and mental health, active engagement with nature is key to a better quality of life for Londoners. Greener infrastructure can lead to cleaner air and improved flood protection. 47% of London is already physically green; its natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage are part of the capital’s global reputation and attraction to visitors.

Traditional National Park status in the UK aims to "conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area" and "promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of the park by the public".  Why not take these aims and apply them to the whole of London? That is the essence of this initiative; to create a new kind of National Park - a National Park City. This has the potential to dramatically improve the way we experience and engage with this great city.

A Greater London National Park City would not seek to appropriate any formal planning powers, and will not add new layers of bureaucracy. It would be a privately funded charitable foundation that far from being a drain on the public purse, would actually be a net contributor in a number of ways. It has the potential to ease the strain on our NHS, increase productivity, spur innovation and inspire new business activities.

A National Park City would build on what is already happening, by linking existing actions and activities, sharing the things that work, inspiring new initiatives and engaging the public like never before. It would help to reinvigorate the relationship between people and place, helping us all make the most of what the city has to offer.

We, the signatories to this letter, wholeheartedly endorse the positive vision set out in the Greater London National Park City proposal (see

According to research by Lancaster University 9 in 10 Londoners think that making London a National Park City is a good idea, and 8 in 10 think it is something that London’s councils should support. It also features within key recommendations set out by the Green Infrastructure Task Force.

Please join 180 council wards, and Sadiq Khan, Zac Goldsmith, Caroline Pidgeon and Sian Berry in supporting this shared vision for London. We need all councillors in your ward to unanimously agree to declare the support of your ward. To see which wards have already backed the campaign, and to add your ward’s support please visit

Together we can make London a greener, healthier and fairer place to live. Together we can make London a National Park City.

Yours faithfully,

  • Daniel Raven-Ellison, Geographer, National Geographic Emerging Explorer
  • Professor Dame Henrietta Moore, Director, Institute for Global Prosperity at UCL
  • Sir Terry Farrell, Principal, Farrells
  • Sir Antony Gormley OBE, Artist
  • Dame Fiona Reynolds
  • Richard Fitzgerald, Headteacher, Langdon Park School
  • Professor Michael Depledge, Chair of Environmental and Human Health, University of Exeter Medical School
  • Trevor Sandwith, Director, Global Protected Areas Programme, IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature)
  • Stuart Brooks, CEO, John Muir Trust and IUCN UK Committee Chair
  • Pip McKerrow, Chief Commissioner, Girlguiding London and South East England
  • David Lambert, Professor of Geography Education, UCL Institute of Education
  • Beth Collier, Nature-based Psychotherapist
  • Paul Griffiths, Salomon UK Brand Manager
  • Dr. Wayne Hemingway MBE, Designer 
  • Dr. William Bird MBE, CEO, Intelligent Health
  • Gordon Scorer, Chief Executive, London Wildlife Trust 
  • Alastair Humphreys, Adventurer
  • Ivan Levin, Senior Director, Outdoor Foundation
  • Juana Mariño Drews, Architect
  • Chúk Odenigbo, Environmental Champion
  • Catherine Nash, Professor of Geography, Queen Mary University of London
  • George Monbiot, Journalist and campaigner
  • Neil Maiden, Professor of Digital Creativity, Cass Business School, City University London
  • Peter Jenkinson OBE, Cultural Broker
  • Judy Ling Wong CBE, Honorary President, Black Environment Network
  • Muki Haklay, Professor of Geographical Information Science, UCL
  • Ben Rogers, Director, Centre for London
  • Will Self, Writer
  • Anson Mackay, Professor in Environmental Change, Vice-Dean for Research, UCL
  • Dr. Digby Whyte, CEO, World Urban Parks
  • Neil McCarthy, Deputy Chair, World Urban Parks
  • Dr. Christy Boylan, Landscape Consultant, World Urban Parks
  • Dr. Bradley Garrett, Human Geographer, University of Southampton
  • Dr. Ben King, Teacher of Geography
  • Dr. Stephen Head, Garden Biodiversity Expert, Wildlife Gardening Forum
  • Tim Nickles, Director, WILD Cities
  • Professor David Goode, Former Head of Environment at the Greater London Authority
  • Rebecca Bell, Lecturer & PhD Researcher, Royal College of Art and University of Hertfordshire
  • Dr. Philippa Williams. Senior Lecturer in Geography, Queen Mary University of London
  • Dr. Menah Raven-Ellison, Senior Occupational Therapist
  • Zachary R. Dulli, CEO, National Council for Geographic Education
  • E.J. Milner-Gulland, Tasso Leventis Professor of Biodiversity, University of Oxford
  • Dr. Ted Trzyna, President, InterEnvironment Institute
  • Dave Morris, Chair, London Green Spaces Friends Groups Network
  • Helen Meech, Director, Rewilding Britain
  • Mark Sears, Chief Wild Officer, The Wild Network
  • Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive, Fields in Trust
  • Joe Smith, Professor of Environment and Society, The Open University
  • Paul Hocker, Development Director, London Play
  • Paul Hyman, Founder Director Active360
  • Tim Webb, Conservationist
  • Jenny Pickerill, Professor of Environmental Geography, University of Sheffield
  • Alex Brooks-Johnson, Chief Executive, Wide Horizons The Adventure Learning Charity
  • Professor Edward Truch, Lancaster University Management School and Director, National Park Research Centre
  • Dr. Martin Zaltz Austwick, Lecturer, CASA, UCL
  • Dr. Georgiana Varna, Research Fellow in Urban Studies, University of Glasgow 
  • Dr. Jim Walsh, CEO, Conway Hall
  • Dr. Alison Prendiville, University of the Arts London
  • Paul de Zylva, Head of Nature, Friends of the Earth
  • Dr. Julie Futcher, Architect
  • Dr. Robert Macfarlane, Writer and Academic
  • Katie Willis, Professor of Human Geography, Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Dr. Sara Jones, Senior lecturer, City University
  • Richard Lindsay, Head of Environmental and Conservation Research, University of East London
  • Paul Rose, Explorer and Broadcaster
  • Ben Smith, Director of Sustainable Development, Aecom
  • Dr. Tony Juniper, Environmentalist, Campaigner and Writer
  • Theo Thomas, London Waterkeeper
  • Dean Jefferys, Regional Commissioner for London, The Scout Association
  • Andy Mitchell CBE, CEO, Tideway
  • Ciaran Biggins, Co-Founder & Director, MindFood CIC
  • Alex Tambourides, CEO, Hammersmith and Fulham Mind
  • Andrew Denton, CEO, Outdoor Industries Association
  • Martha Fajardo, Co-Chair International Federation of Landscape Architects


Are you an expert and would like to have your name added to this list? Please email


Showing 1 reaction