The East London Garden Society

What if London was a National Park City

Update - March 2018

The matter of London becoming a National Park is being addressed yet again. Under the present rules of National Parks, London is ineligible for this categorisation. Therefore, a new act of Parliament may have to be enacted to enable this to happen.

When this was previously considered, the belief was that making London a National Park would be determined not by an act of Parliament but by those in charge using existing rules and regulations and only when a sufficient number of electoral wards had stated their wishes, would London be declared a National Park City.

Sufficient number of electoral wards have agreed to a National Park City for London, although the number declaring their agreement is not known. Recently, it was announced that London was now to be declared a National Park City, but it is now understood that this not the situation. It is also not clear how such a park would be financed and what powers are required for its structure.

Let’s make London the world’s first National Park City. A city where people and nature are better connected. A city that is rich with wildlife and every child benefits from exploring, playing and learning outdoors. A city where we all enjoy high‐quality green spaces, the air is clean to breathe, it’s a pleasure to swim in its rivers and green homes are affordable. Together, we can make London a greener, healthier and fairer place to live. Together, we can make London a National Park City.

It’s a fascinating concept and a wonderful notion to make London a National Park since it would have a revered status which should not be diminished in any way. Who knows what the knock‐on effect would be if rules and laws were re-written to afford London to be a National Park.

Presently the rules, laws and guidelines for National Parks are rigorous, therefore making London ineligible to be a National Park, so who is going to re‐write the rules? The positive aspect of making London a wonderful place for nature is excellent and one which should be supported but to have an organisation in control of London’s urban landscape fills one with horror. An organisation making its own rules, to make known a policy which best suits London.

There are many communities, including local authorities, presently overseeing their cherished parks and gardens so to be told what is in their best interest will take a lot of convincing. At this moment in time there is no statutory obligation for local authorities to maintain parks and gardens so maybe there is a void to be filled.

Although it would be a good idea to manage the nature environment of London but does this include repealing The Metropolitan Commons Act, will The National Trust land be exempt, will The City of London be exempt, and will The Crown Estate be exempt. Also, would estates, some of which could be considered parks, become part of the National Park City.

There are many questions which in time may be overcome, but to have an idea become law and implemented without fair scrutiny, is wrong. To say yes to London becoming a National Park City would mean a small group of people write the rules in which we all have to abide, especially those presently concerned such as Friends Groups and this would lead to friction. Also, why name London a National Park when it would diminish the status of our much beloved National Parks UK wide.