The TCPA welcomes the DCLG Select Committee’s Public Parks Inquiry report, which recognises that in addition to being much-loved local community spaces, parks are important national assets that deliver economic benefits, public health benefits, and help reduce the effects of climate change.

The TCPA gave both written and oral evidence to the Committee and is pleased that its view that there should be cross-government co-ordination regarding policy for parks and green infrastructure has been accepted.

Julia Thrift, TCPA Projects Director, said:

The TCPA welcomes the Select Committee’s ambition to move parks up the political agenda and create cross-government support for these vital national assets. We hope that the Minister responds positively to the Committee’s recommendations, including requiring councils to work with local health and wellbeing boards to create green space strategies, and helping park managers measure the real value that their parks bring to society. Over time, this should help attract new funding for parks and green infrastructure.

 However, as the Committee recognises, in the short-term parks are facing a funding crisis. Councils will struggle to implement the Committee’s recommendations because they are having to cut their parks budgets and reduce their staff. We welcome the Committee’s announcement that it will maintain its interest in public parks and will call the government to account by returning to this subject before the end of this parliament.

Earlier this week the government published a Housing White Paper which made a commitment to consulting on national planning policy. This provides a timely opportunity to strengthen the National Planning Policy Framework’s policy regarding parks and green infrastructure, as the TCPA and Landscape Institute argued in a letter to the Select Committee.

This week also marked the first meeting of a new pan-European project on the economic benefits of green infrastructure, which is led by the TCPA. PERFECT (Planning for Environment and Resource Efficiency in European Cities and Towns) is a five-year INTERREG Europe funded project which aims to share good practice across the seven partner countries on investing in high quality, multi-functional green infrastructure. TCPA’s Julia Thrift added:

 The committee's report echoes much of the learning from the project meeting this week where partners learnt about how investment in green infrastructure, such as parks, can lead to economic growth through unlocking development, delivering new jobs and boosting tourism

The project kicked off in London on Monday with a series of events including an expert presentation from the European Commission about how green infrastructure covers many priorities at a EU level for the jobs and growth agenda; cross-sector workshops with politicians and stakeholders from the partner areas, and study visits to Bicester, and Rainham Marshes and Beam Parklands in east London.

Ends

Notes to editors

  • Contact the TCPA on 020 7930 8903
  • The TCPA runs the national Green Infrastructure Partnership – for more information see: gip-uk.org