(N46) Green Spaces for all Londoners - Evening Standard, 7 June 2011 by Nicholas Cecil, Chief Political Correspondent
We'll create green spaces for all Londoners, says Minister
COMMUNITIES in London were today promised powers to protect or restore green spaces for recreation and wildlife.
Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman vowed to ensure that rundown parts of the capital, as well as more affluent neighbourhoods, have such spaces.
And in an attempt to interest more young people in the environment, she promised to slash rules that prevent schools from taking pupils on outdoor trips.
Launching a natural environment White Paper, Ms Spelman said
"in urban areas, poorer people are far less likely to have access to green space. We want this to change, and we want to help local authorities and developers work to give everyone equal access to green spaces and all the benefits that go with them."
"We want children to get out into the natural world. It's good for their health and it helps them to learn. So we'll be removing the barriers to schools taking children on school trips and teaching them outdoors."
The nature blueprint includes:
- Nature Improvement Areas to transform rural and urban areas and create bigger, connected sites for wildlife. A £7.5 million fund will pioneer 12 initial NIAs.
- Better urban green spaces in towns and cities with support for parks, gardens and tree planting.
- Designated green areas to allow local communities to protect land important for recreation, the view or wildlife.
- Assessing the state of Britain's "natural wealth", alongside our CDP. W New environmental volunteering initiative "Muck in 4 Life" to enhance nature sites.
- A scheme for "biodiversity offsetting" for developers to protect and improve wildlife areas.
Two cabinet ministers had their homes targeted in dawn raids by climate change protesters today. Business Secretary Vince Cable was woken at 5:30 am by activists at his south-west London home.
Protesters Tamsin Omond and Alice Haworth-Booth, both 26, above, then moved on to the Pimiico residence of Transport Secretary Philip Hammond, covering the door with "Climate Crime Scene" tape and displaying a banner reading "There's no Planet B. Both, ministers spoke to the women.
- Local Nature Partnerships to co-ordinate action across local agencies and organisations.
- Phasing out peat to protect and restore peatlands which are valuable carbon sinks and habitats.
The White Paper is the first on the natural environment in 20 years. But critics will argue that the plans come as councils are slashing funding for parks and some introduce charging for recreation areas.
Sports Guardian; 30th April 2011
Conservative MP for Meriden
Secretary of State , Environment, Food and Rural Affairds (since 12 May 2010)
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24/6/2011 Last updated24/6/2011