Managing wild spaces

Bristol Civic Society has responded to a Bristol City Council consultation regarding land managed for nature.

We support in principle the goal of at least 30% land managed for nature in Bristol, but we commented that there are important issues that the draft proposals do not address.

We made two substantive points:

  1. It feels unsatisfactory to consider one use of parks, etc., in isolation without considering other uses at the same time. We are particularly concerned that there is little in the document that links “nature issues” with “people” issues. It is not enough to know that “nature is there” and being managed: it can be connected to, enjoyed and valued as part of people’s lived experience.
    We think there may still be a consultation coming up on the Parks Strategy review as a whole. Perhaps that is where a coherent plan of provision for all the different park uses will appear, but the current consultation does not confirm that.
  2. Public access to green space needs protection and that means a robust approach and polity.
    If the policies under discussion are to be of value, then Bristol needs to have as robust as possible mechanisms for protecting green spaces, both now and those that are developed in the future. A “managing for nature strategy” should include statutory protection for local authority and publicly entrusted public recreational land.
    It would also help if the value of the green space was quantifiable. Taking a strategic ”valuing people and places” approach will help make more investable propositions for funding and commercial leverage.


Full response

Ted Fowler


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