Kate Ashbrook says hard-pressed local authorities are having to exploit parks as venues for damaging commercial events; Hal Moggridge writes that urban pollution makes parks, with their purer air quality, more vital than ever; David Jolley says parks must be a statutory responsibility of local authorities

Your correspondents set out the bleak prospects for public parks (Letters, 26 December). To combat austerity, local authorities are increasingly exploiting parks as venues for exclusive, damaging, commercial events – lucrative for the local authority but against the wishes of day-to-day users. The government should impose a statutory duty on councils to provide, monitor, manage and maintain parks and open spaces for their residents, whom the councils should consult in their running of these vital assets.
Kate Ashbrook
General secretary, Open Spaces Society

• Good sense supports the letter from David Lambert and 11 others deploring the closing of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Parks for People funding programme. Urban parks are places where air quality is purer, making them suitable for physical exercise both by children and active adults, unlike streets polluted by traffic. Research in recent decades has also discovered that natural surroundings alleviate stress and reduce mental illness in urban populations, a money-saver for the health service. In London, one-third of those using the parks are foreign tourists who enhance national income.

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Source: The Guardian

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