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The Case for Turning London Into a National Park

Don’t scoff—London’s landscape of scruffy beauty deserves celebration and protection.
Central London as seen from Richmond Park.
Central London as seen from Richmond Park.Gareth Williams on Flickr

If a plan officially proposed in London on Wednesday goes ahead, I won’t need to travel far to visit the U.K.’s newest national park. I won’t have to hire a car or buy train tickets. In fact, I won’t even need to leave my apartment. That’s because the suggested site for the new park is London itself—all of it. Yesterday, the London Assembly passed a motion supporting in principle the creation of a Greater London National Park, a single body covering the whole city, celebrating its many green spaces. The Assembly’s provisional approval has pushed an idea that’s been building momentum for a while far closer to reality.

This wouldn’t be your average national park, of course. The park’s role would not be to control or restrict planning through any additional powers. It would essentially be a coordinator and cheerleader for London’s green assets. A single park could combine conservation efforts and volunteering opportunities currently divided among 33 local authorities and provide a better platform to promote Green London to visitors.