From The Editor - Let's make this inquiry count

In just two weeks, the public consultation being carried out by the communities and local government select committee on the impact of parks funding cuts will come to a close - and with it the best opportunity for a decade for horticulture professionals to convey the depth of the parks crisis to our politicians.

Lowe: "horticulturally-informed" may have the biggest impact on the inquiry
Lowe: "horticulturally-informed" may have the biggest impact on the inquiry

Thanks to the publication this week of the Heritage Lottery Fund's second major report into the state of the UK's parks, we now have the much-needed, robust evidence base that reveals the extent and trajectory of cuts to parks services nationwide (see p10-13).

What is needed now is the testimony of individual horticulture professionals who are best placed to describe the impact of cuts on their local parks and green spaces - whether employed by those local authorities or simply acting as "horticulturally-informed" local witnesses.

When news of the inquiry broke this July, David Lambert, adviser to the 1999 Town & Country Parks inquiry, advised that the submissions making the greatest impression last time around were those from individuals able to spell out the impact of local budget cuts.

That horticulturally-informed interpretation is crucial to this inquiry. To the untrained eye, the devastating impact of parks maintenance cuts is all too often obscured - until it is too late. "It's something like climate change - if people aren't experiencing it in their daily lives it gets overlooked," warns The Parks Alliance chair Mark Camley.

You can get your voice heard by putting the following link into you web browser to take you to the inquiry submissions page: The submission deadline is 30 September.


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