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A statement on today’s Queen’s Speech from our General Secretary, Kate Ashbrook.
‘The society is pleased that the Queen’s Speech, made on 10 May, includes a Levelling-Up and Regeneration Bill, but is adamant that levelling up must include public access to green spaces and to nature. The society criticised the Levelling-Up White Paper in February 2022 as “a missed chance to rectify the grow inequality of access to local spaces”.
‘We have long been exercised about the government’s lack of urgency in addressing inequality of green space, which was highlighted more than ever during the pandemic. The provision and protection of access to green space must be at the heart of the planning changes and levelling-up, to rectify the present inequality, and to secure the health and well-being of communities. We shall press for the new law to focus on this vital outcome.
‘We are also concerned that there is no mention in the Queen’s Speech of the environment, or of increasing public access there. This is despite the government’s pledges, in the 25-year environment plan published in 2018, to make sure that our natural environment “can be enjoyed, used by and cared for by everyone”, and that there should be “high-quality, accessible, natural spaces close to where people live and work”. Those pledges have now been made statutory by the Environment Act 2021. Nearly five years on since the plan was published, the government should be delivering its promises.’