GreenLINK aims for bigger voice

Proposal to create sector-specific all-party parliamentary group rejected by green space leaders.

Parks and green space leaders have turned down a proposal to set up a dedicated green space all-party parliamentary group (APPG).

GreenLINK, a coalition of national organisations working in the green space sector, will instead develop links with relevant APPGs such as those for gardening and horticulture and local environmental quality.

At a meeting of GreenLINK members this week hosted by charity GreenSpace - including Groundwork UK, the Landscape Institute and Lantra - the possibility of creating a new green space APPG was discussed.

But many members, some of whom work on existing APPGs, felt more would be gained by working with the environmental and gardening groups than spending GreenLINK's resources setting up a new one.

GreenLINK facilitator and GreenSpace chief executive Paul Bramhill explained: "We initially thought trying to raise awareness through our own APPG would be a positive step, but with key civil servants attending our meetings we are already well placed to create links with ministers and existing APPGs."

Bramhill said there had been a feeling that historically the APPG for Gardening & Horticulture had not focused on green space issues but that GreenLINK members would aim to influence the agenda. "Parks and green spaces are part of the horticulture agenda so it could just be one element of one of their meetings," he added.

Meanwhile, Communities & Local Government minister Andrew Stunnell agreed to consider a follow-up meeting with GreenLINK. Representatives met the minister last month to highlight the sector's concerns. Stunnell said the meeting was "constructive and informative".

Minister's response

In response to concerns raised by GreenLINK, Communities & Local Government minister Andrew Stunnell will consider a site visit to see how front-line community groups and local authorities are adapting to "new operational contexts in the green spaces sector".

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