At the beginning of July the magazine Horticulture Week launched ‘Parks a Priority’ – a call for a parliamentary inquiry into the needs of urban parks and how to respond to the looming funding crisis.
The well-attended launch took place in the Houses of Parliament, hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Gardening and Horticulture Group of MPs and Lords. The National Federation of Parks and Green Spaces were the only community representatives present and they contributed to the debate in order to ensure the concerns of the Friends movement and the public generally are being raised loud and clear!
All MPs are currently being asked to sign an ‘Early Day Motion’, EDM 219 – Reduction in Funding for Urban Parks. This highlights the damage being caused to Britain’s urban parks and green spaces by disproportionate cuts to their maintenance in local government budget savings, the lack of investment and the loss of skills, and ‘calls on the Government to address these concerns in a new inquiry intourban parks’. Please help by urging your MP to sign it now. And why not write to the local press too?
As local park users we know all too well the damage caused by green space cuts in the 1980s and the inevitable neglect and decline green spaces fell into. Many groups have spent over a decade trying to undo that damage and return our green spaces to the condition and usage levels that local communities rightly expect anddeserve. This ‘rescue’ process is not finished, with so many parks and green spaces still needing a much greater level of resources for their renewal, proper management and maintenance. This month 1,424 urban green spaces received a Green Flag award [www.greenflag.keepbritaintidy.org] indicating they are being managed to the minimum recognised acceptable standards – that leaves around 29,000 others that need the same care and attention!
The spiral of neglect from the 1980 and 1990s must not be allowed to happen again. A key difference now is that there is a grass roots movement of over 5,000 local Friends Groups who care passionately, and who are able to speak out…