Parks for London – 5th Annual Good Parks for London report

The charity, Parks for London, launched on 18 November 2021, the 5th annual Good Parks for London report. It focuses on how London’s park services are performing, how land managers are meeting the on-going challenges of climate change, and the impact it has on how residents, wider communities and visitors use their local parks and green spaces.

Supported by the Mayor of London, the report looks at how London boroughs are performing against ten Good Parks criteria, including sustainability, supporting nature, community involvement, strategic planning and more. It also gives case studies from other landowners/managers who provide much needed green space.

“The Mayor has made huge strides in increasing and protecting the capital’s green spaces. This includes investing over £20 million to help improve parks, including Beckenham Place Park in Lewisham and the Ripple Greenway in Barking & Dagenham.”

“The Good Parks for London Report’s focus on climate change couldn’t be more timely. This summer’s flash floods were a stark reminder that the dangers of climate change are moving closer to home and something London is likely to experience more frequently. London’s parks will have a key role to play in helping us mitigate and adapt to our changing climate. The Mayor is delighted to support Parks for London’s development into a Centre for Excellence, following a recommendation from his London Green Spaces Commission, helping those who design, manage and maintain parks and green spaces to respond to city-wide challenges.”

Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, Shirley Rodrigues

High achieving boroughs in 2021

This year the London Borough of Lewisham has been congratulated for their outstanding park service. Other boroughs that have performed exceptionally well are Barking & Dagenham, Hounslow, Lambeth, and Southwark. With Barking & Dagenham, Hackney, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hounslow, and Redbridge who were recognised as this year’s biggest improvers.

Overall, over 80% of boroughs have shown improved parks services. A congratulations is in order for all London boroughs, their staff, and volunteers for the work they are doing as well as thanking them for participating in this report.

“Poor air quality and the extremes of flooding and drought are now seen and felt in our neighbourhoods, yet our parks and other green infrastructure can help provide solutions to these big challenges. So, it comes as no surprise that we have dedicated this year’s edition of Good Parks for London to parks and climate change.”

Tony Leach, Chief Executive of Parks for London

Highlighted below are the amazing work London boroughs are doing to lead the way in key areas:

  • Richmond improving accessibility to its parks through close consultations with people who suffer from visual impairment.

  • Southwark rejuvenating Dickens Square into a more welcoming, attractive, and accessible park.

  • Barking & Dagenham and Hammersmith & Fulham creating dense urban forests to support wildlife, act as carbon sinks and improve the local environment.

Other noteworthy projects by landowners and organisations include conservation efforts by Capel Manor College to conserve the critically endangered Scottish wildcat species, and a new Wildlife Discovery Centre in River Lee Country Park managed by the Lee Valley Regional Park Authority.

“Strategically addressing the impact of climate change inevitably means resourcing our parks, green and blue spaces in their critical role to protect people and nature.”

Judy Ling Wong CBE, Honorary President of the Black Environment Network, author of the report’s Foreword

Joanne Dennis-Jones, National Head of Planning at GL Hearn, commented: “Many of us were so reliant on our local park during COVID-19, it is phenomenal the positive affect that outdoor space has on our physical and mental wellbeing. This year’s theme of climate change could not be more relevant. The call to action for us all is to take personal responsibility for the day to day changes we can make to help protect our environments locally.”

The results of this year’s report were announced at Cross River Partnership’s online Lunchtime Launch event, a recording of which can be seen below or click the link to visit the Cross River Partnership’s YouTube channel.

Encouraging climate action

This year, the report also includes invaluable case studies of landowners and managers making London’s parks more climate resilient and better positioned to mitigate climate change. A series of pond restoration projects by The Royal Parks and the creation of a major wetland at Headstone Manor Park by Harrow Council aims to reduce flood risk and improve wildlife habitats. Contractors such as Glendale are also working with London Boroughs to achieve climate resilience in their neighbourhoods.

These case studies and more will be available on the Parks for London’s online
Resource Hub to provide a growing resource for learning and replication.

Annual Good Parks for London Report|
Cross River Partnership|
Parks for London|