Prince William warns open spaces are 'under threat'

Press Releasein Industry News

Prince William has warned that many of Britain's green spaces are under threat and could be lost to developers.

In a YouTube video, the prince urges people to preserve fields and parkland as part of a campaign to create or preserve 2,012 open spaces by 2012.

It is part of celebrations to mark the Queen's diamond jubilee next year.

The recorded message, broadcast on the Royal Channel, sees the 29-year-old urge viewers to vote to save their "favourite space".

He said the campaign aims to protect sites so that "millions of people for generations to come can take part in sport, play and enjoy".

"Many of these sites may be lost in the future if they are not protected. The sites will also be at the heart of many Diamond Jubilee parties next year.

"I can think of no better way to pay tribute to the Queen in the 60th year of her reign, a year that coincides with the Olympic Games in our country."

The prince is the patron of the Queen Elizabeth II Fields Challenge and launched the campaign last year.

Prince William's championing of green spaces can be seen as an admirable move, but is it also a political one?

His push to protect playing fields is taking place at the same time as the government are trying to change planning laws in England.

Ministers behind the proposed changes have been criticised by conservation groups including Fields in Trust, the body promoting William's initiative.

The Trust has said there was a danger, "that open space, including playing fields, will be in greater danger from development".

When the charge of a future king meddling in politics (his father bears the scars) is put to the prince's officials, they are relaxed. They insist William is passionate about safeguarding public areas for children and he sees this scheme as a personal gift to his grandmother for her Diamond Jubilee.

He said he was delighted with local authorities who had responded to the challenge, saying: "We have been offered coastline and woodland, as well as existing children's playgrounds and recreational fields."

He said in many areas there had been more nominations than could be accommodated so he has called for people to vote for their favourite sites which will be protected for future generations.

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