Ambitions for parks and open spaces laid out by council, reports Simon Allin, Local Democracy Reporter
A plan to make Enfield the “greenest borough in London” has been launched by Enfield Council.
The ten-year “blue and green strategy” aims to “protect, enhance and maintain” the borough’s rivers, lakes, woodlands, parks and other environmental assets.
It states that by 2031, Enfield will be “London’s greenest borough, forming the cornerstone of London’s national park”. The borough already boasts the longest distance of watercourses in the capital, as well as 40% of land designated as protected Green Belt and Metropolitan Open Land.
The council has launched a consultation on the proposals to gain feedback from residents. It hopes the strategy will help mitigate the impacts of climate change, improve health outcomes, encourage social interaction and physical activity, contribute to the recovery of nature, and reduce inequalities.
Plans include a “green loop” running from the open countryside into town centres and densely built-up areas along river corridors and strategic links. There will be a particular focus on improving areas that currently lack open spaces, such as Edmonton and Ponders End.
The 76-page blue and green strategy is linked to the borough’s climate action plan, which includes a target of making the borough carbon neutral by 2040. The council has already started a programme to plant 100,000 trees on 60 hectares of Green Belt land in the north of the borough, restoring a part of the ancient Enfield Chase woodland.
Work has also begun to restore up to 350 metres of Turkey Brook within Albany Park and create a flood storage area that will reduce flood risk to more than 200 properties.
Councillor Guney Dogan, the council’s cabinet member for environment, said the Covid-19 pandemic had demonstrated the value of blue and green spaces and their importance to physical and mental health. Cllr Dogan added: “As a result of this, and our far-reaching ambitions as a council, we want to expand our blue/green spaces so they are not just confined to remote areas of countryside but are fully accessible, high-quality spaces at the heart of our most densely built-up areas, such as town centres.
“In addition, investing in improving this network helps the borough respond to a changing climate and more extreme weather.”
However, residents remain concerned over the future of Whitewebbs Park, with the council putting Whitewebbs Golf Course and part of its adjacent ancient woodland up for a commercial lease in late 2019. The authority’s preferred bidder was due to be announced last year, but a council spokesperson said: “The process was paused while we have been focused on other priorities.
“We are now making progress and expect to make an announcement about next steps shortly. The bidding criteria and our aspirations for Whitewebbs are in line with those in the blue and green strategy, including those that seek to widen access to water spaces and parks, increase biodiversity and increase levels of physical activity and social interaction.”
View the strategy and take part in the consultation before the deadline on Monday 11th January: