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London parks under threat

There are far too many green spaces under threat in London. Here you can find out what we are we doing, what you can do and what we are asking boroughs to do.

  • We make sure politicians know about the scale of threats, the reasons for them, and the solutions. Our most recent report on threats Forever Green?, published in March 2022, details threats to 50 sites – everything from public parks, including historic and even royal parks, to vast areas of Green Belt, sports pitches, recreation grounds, open fields, nature reserves and green spaces in housing estates. Many of the sites have protected Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land status. Our influential reports help to raise the profile of the scale of the problem: The Strongest Protection (2016), One Year On (2017), Safe Under Us? (2016) and A Done Deal (2015) have all helped to counter ongoing threats to green space in London. You can also read our recent blog on why parks in London are coming under threat.
  • At any one time we are working with around ten to fifteen local groups to counter threats: see our ongoing log of casework.
  • We also work hard to find ways to give sites stronger protection. We work to influence boroughs (see what we’re asking boroughs to do below). We work to influence the London Mayor’s policy for example through our work on the London Plan. See more about our influencing work. Ultimately, we need effective legal and planning policy protection for our precious green spaces. That may well mean new legislation and changes to the National Planning Policy Framework. We are working to expand use of the Local Green Space protection mechanism; considering how to make legal and policy protections work more effectively; and building the friends group movement as we strongly believe that currently your local park is only as safe as the communities who befriend it and are prepared to fight for it.

How can you help?

  • You can tell us about any neglected green spaces in your area and perhaps set up a local group to create a new or better local park or green space there. There is lots of advice available from Parks Community or get in touch with us
  • Or you could join your local park friends group: find their details at GoParksLondon.
  • You can also donate to our latest appeal. We are a very small charity and all contributions make a huge difference.
  • You can ask your local councillors to support six pledges set out below

What are we asking boroughs to do? 

We want borough to actively identify green spaces under threat, or derelict or neglected sites which might come under threat in future, and positively plan, with local groups, to save those spaces, bringing them back into use for public amenity, as a home for nature or both. Where a borough council is itself causing the threat, we are urging them to think again. We want boroughs to:

  1. identify derelict and neglected greenspaces in the borough, and any green spaces threat, and actively work with the community to bring them back into use especially if they are at risk
  2. ensure housing estate ‘infill’ schemes don’t leave residents with inadequate green space and where necessary create more green and communal open space by turning ‘grey space’, currently given to car parking and roads, into green and community open space.
  3. invest in parks, support park friends groups and promote and champion our parks… ensure parks are well maintained, improved and valued… and support the creation of more local Park Friends Groups, so we make best use of our green spaces.
  4. protect our parks and green spaces including by promoting the use of the Local Green Space* designation… not sell, permit development on, or commercialise parks and green spaces in the borough, either to raise money or benefit private or exclusive interests…  and respect public amenity covenants, even on privately owned land.”
  5. protect Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land and ensure new housing and other necessary development is built on brownfield sites… not justify loss of green space by citing the need for homes, schools or other development: these can be accommodated on previously developed land.
  6. create 30 more parks in areas with not enough green space by 2026, by converting greyspace into ‘streetparks’.

CPRE London’s commitment to parks and green spaces

✓ We support local groups, helping them save vital parks; and supporting them to create new parks from neglected and derelict green spaces.
✓ We identify the reasons spaces are coming under threat and work to tackle the causes.
✓ We champion parks, green spaces, Metropolitan Open Land and Green Belt, showing why they are so important.
✓ We publicise threats and advocate for political commitment, new policies and legislation to tackle them.

You can donate to support or work here.