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Call for candidates to protect local parks and green spaces in Wales

GREEN space charity Fields in Trust Cymru is calling on candidates in May’s Senedd elections to recognise the importance of our local parks and green spaces and sign a pledge committing to protect them from development if elected.

The Parks Protector Pledge contains six key points which set out how elected policymakers can work to protect, support and champion green spaces for good, both locally and nationally. Candidates standing for election to Senedd Cymru are invited to make a public commitment to the Pledge.

Following a year in which we have valued our local parks more than ever before, the Fields in Trust charity is calling on candidates to demonstrate support for green spaces by joining 40 members of the UK Parliament, representing five different parties, who signed the Parks Protector Pledge at the 2019 General Election. Fields in Trust is also encouraging electors to ask their candidates how they will support local parks and green spaces if elected. 

Fields in Trust is an independent charity which has been legally protecting parks and green spaces since 1925 and currently protects 289 green spaces in Wales covering nearly 1,300 hectares.HRH The Duke of Edinburgh served as President of the charity for 64 years.

Chief Executive Helen Griffiths said: “We know from our original research that parks and green spaces contribute to community health and wellbeing. Parks and green spaces can address multiple policy challenges, including health improvement; tackling loneliness; addressing childhood obesity; benefiting the environment and delivering volunteer opportunities yet we also know that they are not equitably distributed across the UK. So, we urge candidates to protect these vital public services and the positive benefits they deliver.

Elected representatives can have a major impact on what happens to our green spaces. Comprehensive access to our most universal of public services is not something that is politically contested and by building cross-party support in championing the value of local parks, future legislative reform can protect local green spaces that matter to constituents.

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An example of what can be achieved is demonstrated in the pioneering partnership between Liverpool City Council and Fields in Trust, announced last month, which has led to a commitment by the council to protect all the city’s parks and green spaces in perpetuity. Securing 100 parks, totalling over 1,000 hectares, will make Liverpool the first city in the UK where everyone lives no more than a ten-minute walk from a green space which is protected forever.