From the Total Environment Centre: 

A powerful network of community, planning and health organisations have called on the Premier of NSW to protect the lungs of our iconic city in an open letter organised by Total Environment Centre.

Experts and leaders in Health, Planning, Science, Education, Religion and Community have urged better protection of green spaces and trees from development and criticised the proposed Biodiversity Offsets Scheme which will lead to the widespread clearing of bushland in the Greater Sydney area in return for developers’ cash payments.

“People are right to be alarmed about development projects which destroy urban breathing space,” said TEC’s director Jeff Angel. “The extremely negative impacts on healthy lifestyles and urban heat can’t be ignored. The science is in. We need trees and green spaces for healthy citizens. As Sydney grows, bigger parks and more trees are a priority.”

“With Sydney’s population projected to grow to 6.4 million by 2036, access to safe, convenient and enjoyable parks, sporting facilities and other open space will be crucial for the liveability of our city”, said Mark Tyrrell, President Australian Institute of Landscape Architects NSW.

Further, Mr Tyrrell encouraged the State Government to increase the level of investment in the green infrastructure network to allow for better health and wellbeing for people living in dense urban communities.

The National Heart Foundation’s NSW Division CEO Kerry Doyle explained: “Apart from creating beautiful and vibrant neighbourhoods, tree have impacts on our long term health. Heart disease is the single leading cause of death in Australia and a lack of physical activity is one of the risk factors contributing to the growing burden of disease. By having access to green spaces for people to exercise, socialise and for kids to play all help to make being physically active part of people’s every day routine.”

The TEC’s SOS Green Spaces Map tracks threatened spaces in over 70 locations across Sydney with detailed information about local trees, native species, and resident action groups. The Map reveals the precious areas that are under the threat of unfettered development.