Liverpool residents will be guaranteed access to park and green spaces, forever. This removes the threat that any might be built on or sold off. It’s all part of a new strategic partnership between Fields in Trust and Liverpool City Council.
Liverpool is the first local authority to ensure local access to green space for all residents by protecting each of their eligible parks and green spaces.
The city council’s Cabinet has committed to protect 100 parks and green spaces across the city. It totals over 1,000 hectares. It sets the ambition that everyone will live less than a ten-minute walk from a green space.
Protected parks include local recreation grounds as well as well-known city centre destination parks and children’s playgrounds.
Parks and green spaces have been vital over the last year as places to play, exercise, relax, reflect. It’s been the only safe place to meet loved ones and connect with friends and our neighbours. They will continue to be important as part of our recovery from the Coronavirus pandemic.
As part of the wider City Recovery Plan Liverpool’s Acting Mayor, Councillor Wendy Simon has committed to work with Fields in Trust and secure legal protection of Liverpool’s entire portfolio of green space.
The decision is based on evidence of the health, wellbeing and community benefits they deliver.
Councillor Simon said:
“Liverpool is blessed to have so many stunning green spaces. This new initiative means we can ensure everyone has access to free, local outdoor spaces forever.
“The health, wellbeing and community benefits these locations deliver are priceless. It’s demonstrated during this pandemic where they have become such an important part of our lives.
“And the benefits aren’t just health related. Access to green spaces improves our neighbourhoods, tackles climate change, supports education and economic growth and they become the stage on which we host many of our popular cultural celebrations.
“Our partnership with Fields in Trust is a ground-breaking, forward-thinking approach to protecting our parks and green spaces and we look forward to working with them to secure the future of these vital assets.”
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected Liverpool more than many parts of the UK. This is both in the number of cases and the rate of infection.
Research conducted by Fields in Trust has demonstrated clear physical health and mental wellbeing benefits from regular use of parks and green spaces. Yet these vital community assets are not equally distributed.
Fields in Trust’s evaluation of Liverpool’s green space shows that there is around 25.3 square metres per person. This around a quarter the size of a six-yard box on a football pitch.
Yet only four hectares of Liverpool’s parks are currently protected. This leaves them vulnerable to loss or building development.
This new commitment will protect green spaces in all Liverpool’s 30 wards. It guarantees they will remain as green spaces forever.
This is vital when 1 in 6 people in Liverpool (16%) have no access to a private or shared garden, compared to 1 in 8 people (12%) across Britain as a whole.
Additionally, the average size of Liverpudlians’ private outdoor space (144.4m2) is less than half the average across Britain (332.7m2). (Source: ONS)
With the population of Liverpool set to increase by 10.3% over the next 20 years, any future loss of parks and green spaces would disproportionately impact the most disadvantaged and underrepresented communities, who would be missing out on these health benefits, as well as opportunities to get out into nature, have a kickabout and connect with their neighbours.