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Green Mayoral Candidate : Green Spaces

“Our green spaces are really important to us, for our wellbeing, for fresh air and exercise, for our children to play in, for contact with the natural environment” – Penny Remfry, Green Party candidate for Elected Mayor.

“We are lucky in North Tyneside,” Penny says “because we have some lovely parks, some quite recently renovated and looking beautiful now in the spring sunshine.”

But there are areas in the borough where people don’t have easy access to green space although they think they do – because some of the green fields they use aren’t classified by the Council as ‘green spaces’. These are fields owned by housing developers and have been assigned under the Council’s Local Plan for building on.

These green spaces across our Borough are already disappearing under housing. The fields of Murton Gap are scheduled for 7,000 new houses and Killingworth Moor, where building has begun, will soon see a further 3,000 houses. In Backworth, the community has lost green space with goalposts used by children, again this land is sacrificed for new houses.

“We do need more housing in the borough,” says Penny “but we need to make sure that adequate and protected green spaces are designed … so people have plenty of space to appreciate the natural environment.”

These green spaces are also important for wildlife providing corridors for bigger mammals to roam and forage and for birds, insects and smaller mammals to thrive alongside residents.

“If elected as Mayor for the borough,” says Penny “I will explore the possibility of creating some ‘mini-forests’ within residential areas.”

According to Friends of the Earth North Tyneside at present has just 3% tree cover and we need to aim for 20% in the next 10 years.

Mini-forests are areas about the size of a tennis court planted with a variety of trees which become rich in bio-diversity through attracting plant, insect and bird species. They would be in areas where there are local residents and schools interested in helping to maintain them and use them as outdoor classrooms for children and adults to explore and monitor how they develop.

Developing and protecting green spaces is also a way of reducing our carbon footprint, which is one of Penny’s priorities if elected Mayor.

“In order to reach our target of net carbon neutral by 2030 – or even 2050 which is the current council’s target – eliminating our carbon use in housing and transport won’t be enough. We will have to find additional ways of taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.”

“What better way for our own wellbeing than creating more green spaces around us?”

Notes:

For more information on ‘mini-forests’ see:

https://earthwatch.org.uk/get-involved/tiny-forests;

www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/07/tiny-urban-forests-miyawaki-biodiversity-carbon-capture