and urban green spaces is now. Today the urban green spaces
taskforce, a body set up to advise the government on improving the
quality of our urban parks, play areas and green spaces, presented
The report, 'Green Spaces, Better Places' , proposes a number of
options for ensuring that this renaissance takes place. Its main
recommendations include a new national agency for urban parks and
green spaces to issue advice, improve co-ordination and look at new
funding mechanisms and£100m in capital funding per year for
each of the next five years;
The minister with responsibility for parks and green spaces, Sally
Keeble welcomed the report, saying:
'This report fills a chronic vacuum - we now have the first major
government inquiry into parks and green spaces for 50 years. We will
take its findings very seriously, putting this issue where it belongs
- right at the heart of government policy.
'Quality parks and open spaces are fundamental to making towns and
cities better places to live - they should offer something to the
whole community. A place to play, a place to exercise, somewhere to
meet and relax.
'The taskforce has started the ball rolling with this report and I
thank them for their hard work. I am now keen to ensure that this
The minister therefore proposed a number of immediate actions the
government would be taking:
- A steering committee within DTLR to continue the work of the
- A bursary scheme to fund 'enablers' to work with certain local
authorities, voluntary and private sector organisations to develop
local strategies for improving green space;
- A further six demonstration projects around the country to
spread good practice and improve the provision of green spaces for
children and young people.
The minister also announced the forthcoming release of a CD-ROM aimed
specifically at children. The disc is part-game, part-questionnaire
and gives the chance for young people to register with the government
what they see as important about their local green space.
* see LGCnetfor reaction from the urban parks forum.
1. The urban green spaces taskforce was set up in January 2001 to
advise the government on improving the quality of our urban parks,
play areas and green spaces. Chaired by Sally Keeble, the other
members of the taskforce are: Alan Barber, Institute of Leisure and
Amenity Management; Councillor Raj Chandarana,
Croydon LBC; Councillor Brenda Clarke, Birmingham City Council; Michael
Dunton, Tesco; Clifford Davey, British Trust for Conservation
Volunteers; Philippa Drew, DCMS; Gilly Drummond, Association of
Garden Trusts; Stephen Dunmore, New Opportunities Fund; Tim Gale,
Landscape Institute; Jackie Hall, NSPCC; Lorraine Hart, Environment
Trust; Tony Hawkhead, Groundwork UK; John Newton, Turfsoil Ltd;
Mukund Patel, DfES; Eileen Thomas, RTPI; Judy Ling Wong, Black
Environment Network; Ken Worpole, writer and environmentalist, David
Payne, Sport England.
2. The government will publish a policy response document to the
taskforce report later this summer.
3. The CD-ROM, 'The Green Street Gang find Max', is available from
Friday 17 May from Green Street Gang, Freepost, PO Box 2002, Burgess
Hill, West Sussex. RH15 8BR. Fax - 01444 246620, email:
4. The demonstration projects will be located across the country -
Torquay, Winsford in Cheshire, Burnley, Scarborough, Stockport and
Tipton in the West Midlands.
5. The minister also took the opportunity to announce a new award to
celebrate high quality voluntary and community-managed green spaces.
The Green Pennant Award will be managed by the Civic Trust and will
run alongside the well- established framework of the Green Flag
6. The Children's Play Council (CPC) also launch a guide today:
'More than Swings and Roundabouts: Planning for outdoor play' at the
press conference. This comprehensive guide is aimed at helping local
people to create sustainable, exciting and attractive places to play.
The guide moves step-by-step through the process of creating and
improving outdoor play and includes a comprehensive checklist to help
make the process easier. Also contained in the guide is a list of
useful organisations and resources. More than Swings and Roundabouts
is available through NCB Book Sales by calling 020 7843 6029. A summary will shortly be available on LGCnet.