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London is greener than you think as plans for world’s first National City Park gain momentum

Richmond Park

09 March 2016

New research carried out by Lancaster University Management School has revealed that London is much greener than most people think.

On average Londoners think that just 19.1% of the capital is physically green, when in reality 47% of London is made up of gardens, parks, nature reserves and other green places.

The same survey found 84% of Londoners believe that London’s Mayor and Councils should back proposals to make London the world’s first National Park City.

Published during Greener London Week, the research was carried out by LUMS on behalf of the Greater London National Park City Initiative, which has put forward the proposal to declare Greater London the world’s first National Park City. Through such a move the Initiative believes that 51% of the capital could be made physically green, bringing with it enormous benefits to the economy, health and culture.

The research also found that 89% of Londoners think more needs be done to improve London’s environment and green spaces, while 93% believe that using London’s green places can improve people’s health, happiness and wellbeing.

Of those surveyed, 85% agreed that making London a National Park City would make the Capital a better place to live and visit, benefit children and improve health (83%).

Professor Edward Truch, who led the research, said: “Londoners feel strongly that better use should be made of Greater London’s green places and more needs to be done to protect them. The substantial underestimate of the proportion of London’s land that is green, points to a knowledge gap that needs to be addressed if these green assets are to be fully appreciated and valued.”

London can become a National Park City once the Mayor of London and two-thirds of London's electoral wards have declared their support. So far Zac Goldsmith, Sadiq Khan, Caroline Pidegon, Sian Berry, George Galloway and Rosalind Readhead have given their backing and 176 wards across 27 boroughs have declared their support - 40% of those required.

A National Park City would not have any planning powers, but would work to inspire London’s residents and visitors to better enjoy, understand and care for London’s natural and cultural heritage in the same way other national parks around the UK do. It would work with communities and organisations to protect and and improve natural and cultural heritage.

Daniel Raven-Ellison, initiator of the Greater London National Park City Initiative, said: "Published during Greener London Week, these results show that Londoners don't quite know how lucky they really are. According to Greenspace Information for Greater London (GiGL) 47% of the London is already physically green, but I know we can do better than that. By making London a National Park City we can not only make 51% of the capital physically green - but make our city creatively, emotionally, politically, economically, liveably and educationally greener too. Doing this could radically improve our health, wellbeing and prosperity.”

(Images by Luke Massey.)