Our green spaces under threat from number of projects
OUR green spaces are tremendously attractive and valued highly by our local communities for recreation and relaxation.
With all the pressures on such open spaces, there has to be vigilance to keep them in good heart, so that future generations will be able to find the same enjoyment in them.
I was very pleased to have the opportunity to meet representatives of the Colne Valley Park Community Interest Council (CIC) recently, along with my parliamentary colleague David Gauke MP.
We heard about the effect that major infrastructure projects may have on the Colne Valley.
Planned developments which will have an impact on the countryside to the west of the London conurbation include phase one of HS2, the proposed Slough Freight Exchange and also the possibility of a third runway at Heathrow.
The message that came through loud and clear was that we must consider the cumulative effect that such plans can have as a whole.
The Colne Valley Park CIC is a body which encourages the participation of a wide range of organisations. As well as community groups and residents’ associations, there are local councils, businesses and user groups involved as members. Individuals can also join by going to the Colne Valley Park website and becoming Friends of the Park.
There are six outline objectives for the Park. The first three are to maintain the landscape and environment, to safeguard the countryside and to foster biodiversity.
Yet, following on from those aims, there are three more – to provide the opportunity of relaxation, to sustain the rural economy and to encourage participation by the community. It is a mutually sustaining relationship. The Colne Valley Park has been going strong for half a century and with the continuing support of people from the community, I hope it can counter any future threats and continue to flourish over the next fifty years, too.