For the Countryside Commission, official adviser to the government, is investigating the possibility of creating 1,000 Millenium greens where people could relax, play, or enjoy the wildlife.
Average size of the greens would be four or five acres, suggests the commission. However, some may be as small as half an acre, while others could be over 30 if they are serving large communities.
If the idea goes ahead, the commission would expect to seek some £60m from the Millenium Commission, which is one of five 'good causes' which receives money from the lottery.
'Things are still at quite an early stage and we have not yet submitted an application. But it is an idea which has much to recommend it.
'Our surveys confirm what commensense tells us: people value accessible local green space very highly. It is a place to relax or to exercise, a place to go with friends, or by yourself.
'Children and young people need natural open spaces in which to play, but many communities do not have such a valuable resource on their doorsteps.
'It is a curious fact that people living in the countryside often have to travel further than those living in cities to visit open land where they can wander without trespassing!
'Millenium greens would provide new areas of attractive, accessible green space close to where people live - both in town and country - as a lasting resource for future generations to use.'
Local communities would be expected to make a contribution towards the costs - particularly of future management - and greens would be created by the purchase of land on the open market.
'Free public access to the areas would be expressly granted, and we would expect that most people in the community would be able to reach their green safely on foot within ten minutes,' added Mr Coleman.
'All being well, most of the new greens could be at the acceptance stage by the year 2000 - just in time to hold some suitable commemorative event!'