Royal Parks Agency will become part of Greater London Authority

The Government has confirmed that the Royal Parks Agency (RPA) will become part of the Greater London Authority (GLA) when management power is transferred to London mayor Boris Johnson.

The RPA currently manages the parks and answers to the Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), which provides around 50 per cent of the parks' funding. Under the proposals, the RPA would be transferred to City Hall and report directly to the mayor.

Until now, Government proposals to transfer power to City Hall have not included plans to keep the RPA. Making the announcement, tourism and heritage minister John Penrose said the Government would legislate to allow the transfer of power at the earliest possible opportunity.

No details were revealed of any potential restructure or whether the current RPA board would be dissolved.

Parks consultant Alan Barber said he would not be concerned if the board was replaced. "We have not heard anything about them while under the DCMS and I've often wondered what they do, if anything. There should be a new board under the GLA, not simply a transfer of the RPA."

He added: "This is better than being under the thumb of the DCMS, which is only interested in saving money by cutting budgets and pushing the agency to be too commercial."

London Parks & Green Spaces Forum director Tony Leach welcomed the move, saying it may lead the way for the GLA to take a greater role in supporting London's strategic parks.

Parks consultant Sid Sullivan said the mayor would bring a boost to the parks and the capital. "I can't see anyone who offers the advantages that he offers. The parks don't have the profile they should.

"The mayor has done a splendid job of promoting London and its environment and championing the Royal Parks will give him an even better opportunity to do that."

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