The Land Trust gives evidence in Westminster on green spaces inquiry

23rd November 2016

Land management charity highlights importance of public parks and demonstrates the success of its innovative funding model

National land management charity the Land Trust has today given oral evidence to the Communities and Local Government (CLG) Committee’s inquiry into the future of public parks, highlighting the need to recognise the value these spaces provide to the health and vitality of society and the success of its innovative funding arrangements for long-term sustainable management.

The Land Trust provided written evidence to the inquiry in September, demonstrating that

  • Parks and green spaces are vital for people’s health and wellbeing
  • Parks play important roles in contributing to society and local and national economies.
  • Parks are key to ensuring our environment is resilient to the impacts of climate change
  • Securing sustainable investment in parks will cost less in the long term
  • Parks are well used and highly valued by people

The charity was then invited to a session to further examine its innovative management and funding models for parks, focusing on the benefits and challenges of alternative land management arrangements and also looking into the relationships between communities and parks and what is being done to share knowledge and coordinate parks policies at local, regional, and national levels.

In its evidence, the Land Trust has urged the Government to:

  • Give parks priority by including them as part of a wider green space strategy
  • Ensure the various sectors of government which benefit from well managed green spaces understand and contribute to the cost of delivering these benefits
  • Recognise the value of parks and green spaces and secure and reallocate funding across sectors
  • Support local authorities and other public agencies to set legal and long-term funding structures that protect parks, preventing them being marginalised
  • Support skills and development in the sector

Alan Carter, Director of Portfolio Management at the Land Trust, told the CLG Committee that public parks are under severe threat, with an ever decreasing amount of funding  to maintain them leading to financial pressures on councils and resulting in cuts to parks maintenance budgets. This is inversely proportional to the needs of communities for these green spaces for health, resilience and educational purposes, and will result in the short term in more mental and physical ill health.

“We need action now. Parks are used by so many people for a wide variety of reasons, bringing considerable benefits to themselves, their communities, the economy and the environment. The consequences of not having free and easy access to well-maintained public spaces could be hugely detrimental and cost much more in the long term.

“We’re encouraged that the Government is showing an interest in alternative funding arrangements and by presenting evidence alongside other organisations on this and other issues relating to our green spaces, look forward to a sensible and sustainable policy for long-term management of open spaces across the UK, with the required central and local Government support.”

Further information on the public parks inquiry can be found at:

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