UK forest agency launches greener towns partnership

Making Britain’s towns and cities greener places to live and work is the aim of a new partnership being launched by the UK Forestry Commission on 25 March, 2009.

The Urban Regeneration & Greenspace Partnership (URGP) will be officially launched at the ParkCity conference in London.

It will work to bring together a range of government departments and agencies, local authorities and community and environmental groups to work in partnership to create, manage and promote sustainable green spaces in towns and cities.

“Urban greenspace” is a term used to describe natural habitats – from street trees to open grassland, heathlands and woodland – in and around towns and cities.

Greenspace provides a wide range of social, economic, health and environmental benefits, including the creation of wildlife habitats, noise reduction, sustainable drainage and flood control, cooling of buildings and the built environment, improved air quality, and opportunities for sport and recreation.

The URGP will aim to:

  • demonstrate the value and awareness of the impacts and outcomes of greenspace in and around towns and cities;
  • disseminate best practice and case studies;
  • enable innovation and knowledge transfer;
  • provide a network of research and evaluation sites;
  • identify gaps in knowledge and priorities for research and dissemination; and
  • provide a link to research services across the UK.

Tony Hutchings from the Forestry Commission’s Forest Research agency, based at Alice Holt Lodge near Farnham in Surrey, is the co-ordinator of the URGP.

He said: “The use of greenspace in towns and cities is increasingly being seen as having a vital role to play in helping to regenerate them.

“This can involve, for example, transforming a neglected area of derelict ground into a park where people can meet, walk, talk and play.

“The URGP will play a vital role in raising the awareness, impacts and outcomes of urban greenspace.

“We look forward to working with a range of parties from all sectors to establish more urban greenspace and realise the benefits it offers.”

Organisations interested in joining the URGP or being kept in touch with its work and development are invited to contact the partnership.

Further information about the Forestry Commission’s work on urban regeneration and land reclamation is available from the Forest Research website.

Source: Forestry Commission press release

Date: 19/03/2009

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