85 neighbourhoods in England deprived of outdoor space will receive government funding to create or improve local parks and green space, with £2 million of the investment allocated to support tree planting
The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) has announced a £9 million Levelling Up Parks Fund to create or improve over 100 parks across England.
Rather than a competitive bidding process, DLUHC has used data from Natural England’s Green Infrastructure Mapping Tool to identify 85 areas in England – including Liverpool, Birmingham, Carlisle, and 16 London boroughs – where residents have the least access to outdoor space.
£2 million of the total investment will target tree planting on the park sites, contributing to the government’s target to treble woodland planting rates by March 2025.
‘Big or small, green areas help us to connect with nature and support the health of our communities,’ said Natural England Chair Tony Juniper. ‘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.’
Local councils will be able choose the location for the new or improved green space, allowing for targeted intervention that responds to community needs.
The government has also allocated over £1 million from the fund to the devolved administrations: the Scottish Government, Welsh Assembly, and Northern Ireland Executive.
‘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,’ said Greg Clark MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up.
‘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.’
Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill policy briefing
Currently progressing through parliament, the Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill will establish in law many of the government’s levelling up ambitions. The Landscape Institute (LI) has produced a briefing that summarises the key elements of the Bill that are of relevance to landscape practitioners and the wider built and natural environment sectors.