Fields in Trust

What are the UK’s political parties saying about parks and green spaces?

Posted in Comment & Policy on 27th June 2024

Children and nature don’t have votes, but we do. Our parks, green spaces, and playgrounds are on the brink of crisis, with 6.3 million people across the UK not having any nearby access to these precious spaces. We must make it clear to all our political candidates that parks, nature and play matter.

During this UK General Election campaign, we asked you, our supporters, to share our three policy asks centred on protecting, expanding, and improving the future of parks and green spaces.

We’ve taken a closer look at the four main Party Manifestos to provide you with a summary of commitments on the issues that we care about.

The Ctrl + F test

Parks are a universal public service but the fact that they transcend so many areas of public policy has resulted in a lack of focus and priority.

We’ve scoured through the main party manifestos to get a sense of what a new government agenda might look like for parks and green spaces to give us an indication of priorities and direction.

A rather strained Ctrl + F search hints at a disconnect between the role parks and green spaces are well placed to play in delivering the big manifesto asks around health and wellbeing and the environment.

Our Policy Manifesto calls for

So what are the big ideas?

Looking to the future

Plans for new National Parks, National River Walks, Nature Parks and National Forests are all of course to be welcomed whole heartedly. But we’re calling across the board for a greater commitment to some of the unsung heroes; the parks that many of us use every single day but rarely get prioritised for long-term investment and improvement.

As the results of the election filter through this time next week, and the new cabinet is appointed, we will be working hard to influence the new government to be ambitious and innovative about the role parks can play in delivering wider policy goals. We’ll be championing why, therefore, parks and green spaces need to be properly revalued for the long term.

The evidence is clear that urban green spaces are fundamentally important for improving mental and physical health, enhancing biodiversity, reducing pollution, mitigating flooding, tackling urban heat island effects and enabling access to nature. Their multifunctional benefits are estimated to generate significant savings through preventative public health measures as well as adding social and economic value to local communities.
Environment, Food, Rural Affairs Committee, Urban Green Spaces Inquiry (14th March 2024)

Over the coming weeks, we will be getting in touch with all newly elected MPs to ask them to sign our Park Protector Pledge. Stay tuned for details in the coming weeks about how to ask your MP to take action.

Please note, that this blog is intended to provide information that voters might find helpful and does not in any way imply Fields in Trust’s support for a particular Party.