People in towns and cities across the UK will benefit from over 100 new and improved green spaces on their doorstep through £9 million in government funding.
The Levelling Up Parks Fund will create new and improved parks in urban areas, helping communities to come together and enjoy the outdoors.
Launching the fund during Love Parks Week, the government says it hopes each new or improved green space will be an oasis for the local community, boosting creativity and positive mental health whilst also contributing to net zero ambitions.
In England, the cash will be given to councils to create or significantly revamp existing parks in 85 neighbourhoods most deprived of outdoor space. Areas set to benefit include Liverpool, Birmingham, Carlisle and 16 London boroughs.
The new parks will significantly increase access to quality green space for those who need it most, particularly supporting people without a garden to spend time with friends and family in the natural world.
From community gardens to formal greens and town parks – councils will be able to choose the nature and location of the new or improved parks in their local area, meaning that each green space will be as unique as the community it serves.
Secretary of State for Levelling Up Greg Clark MP said:
Parks and green spaces are at the heart of our communities, providing sanctuary from the bustling streets of our towns and cities and spaces for people to relax and come together.
Over the past few years, the importance of spending time with loved ones and getting outdoors has become even more apparent, and this latest government funding will help people living in urban areas do just that.
I look forward to seeing the new parks come to life and making a real difference to people’s daily lives for years to come.
In a further boost to make the UK a greener place to live, £2 million of the total investment will support tree planting on the park sites, helping to combat CO2 emissions and make the air cleaner for people and wildlife. It also supports the government’s commitment to treble tree planting rates over the course of this Parliament.
Instead of a competitive bidding process, the fund allocates grants to places that the government has identified as most in need of quality green space, supported by data from Natural England’s Green Infrastructure Framework mapping.
The UK government has allocated over £1 million from the fund to the devolved administrations and we continue to work closely with them to consider how we can best use the funding to support green spaces in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Forestry Minister, Lord Zac Goldsmith said:
This funding will ensure that people from all backgrounds have access to nature by supporting tree planting within public green spaces in our urban communities – where tree cover is often the lowest.
It will help us meet our tree planting ambitions – as well as making our towns and cities healthier, better insulated to a changing climate, and generally more pleasant places to be.
Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England said:
Big or small, green areas help us to connect with nature and support the health of our communities. Our research showed that 4 in 10 people said visiting green and natural spaces had been even more important to their wellbeing since the pandemic began.
This investment will create new habitats for our precious wildlife and build beautiful places for everyone to enjoy, with our data and expertise supporting the development of green spaces in areas where communities say they are needed the most.
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