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WORKING TOWARDS A GREENER VISION FOR LONDON

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Everyone who lives and works in the capital should be able to enjoy the ...
Everyone who lives and works in the capital should be able to enjoy the

benefits that well-maintained parks, woodland and open green spaces, in London

can bring, including improved physical and mental health, improved air quality,

greater employment opportunities, and a high quality living environment. To

ensure people across Greater London enjoy these benefits government and

non-government organisations must pool their resources and expertise, creating

and implementing a definitive action plan for green space, according to the

Countryside Agency, Forestry Commission and English Nature.

Speaking at Friday's London Green Space Conference Pam

Warhurst, Countryside Agency deputy chair, said: 'Everyone should have access

to attractive, well managed green space within a short walk of home, which they

feel confident and safe to use. The Countryside Agency is working with both

urban and rural communities to help them design, develop and manage such spaces

through initiatives such as Doorstep Greens, Community Forests and National

Trails.

'In many areas of London, green space suffers from under investment, serious

neglect, vandalism and increasing development pressure. There are no simple

solutions to these problems. But, by pooling the expertise and resources of a

wide variety of organisations and seizing the political will, as expressed in

the Urban White Paper and Urban Green Spaces Taskforce, we can create and

deliver a new, long-term green space plan for the capital which reflects London's status as a green World City.'

Paul Hill-Tout, chief conservator for the Forestry Commission, added: 'It is

important that we look to improve the quality of our urban environment. In

this context woodlands have a key role to play in bringing about a greener

vision for London. They screen development, filter air and noise pollution,

provide opportunities for recreation and bring wildlife into the city.'

The Countryside Agency, Forestry Commission and English Nature, along with

other organisations* at the heart of the debate on London's green space,

presented the conference with targets recognised as central to a successful

action plan. These include:

B creation of a comprehensive database of all green space in London to

help monitor change, how it is managed and examine where there are

opportunities for more green space

B establishing targets and attracting resources for active management,

particularly of parks

B monitoring targets for green space provision including quality

management standards

B improving management standards by sharing best practice

B improving training of green space managers

B developing a major funding bid with a wide range of bodies

* A shared vision for London's green space is held by the Countryside Agency,

Forestry Commission, English Nature, the Association of Local Government, the

Corporation of London, the Government office for London, the Greater London

Authority, the National Urban Forestry Unit, the Thames Chase Community Forest

and the Royal Parks.

The Countryside Agency is responsible for advising government and taking action

on issues affecting the social, economic and environmental well being of the

English countryside.

In the Urban White Paper the Countryside Agency was charged to work with a

range of partners 'to develop proposals for raising awareness of the importance

of caring for parks, play areas and public spaces and places, encouraging 'local champions' and identifying opportunities for involving local people in

looking after local places and spaces better'.

The Forestry Commission is a cross-border public body and the government

department responsible for both policy on woodlands and the regulation of

forestry operations in accordance with UK and international standards for

sustainable development. The UK's efforts to expand and protect its woods and

forests are recognised throughout the world as an example of sustainable,

multipurpose forestry at its best, and as a result, all of the commission's

800,000 hectares of forest have been certified as well managed to the standards

required by the independent, international Forest Stewardship Council; and WWF

recently gave its rare Gift to the Earth Award to the commission for its role

in developing forest certification and for good forest management.

English Nature is the statutory body which achieves, enables and promotes

nature conservation in England. We do so by working in partnership with

individuals and a wide range of organisations including government,

representative bodies, agencies and voluntary organisations.

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