The Primrose Hill Declaration

The Primrose Hill Declaration

Primrose credit Philip Precey

In May 1981 the Primrose Hill Declaration was a manifesto and clarion call set out by the Trust’s founders to gain support of their work. It set out a vision for London that would be greener, more environmentally sensitive, and more inclusive.

It is rooted in the actions taken by people in the 19th century to protect some of London’s great landscapes from being built on, and places the embryonic Trust in that framework; a collectivist, grassroots approach to putting nature back in the heart of the city.

The language may have dated since then but the overall objectives that the Declaration calls for are as relevant as ever.

The Primrose Hill Declaration

We are all trustees of London’s natural heritage. We recognize that what has already been achieved in conserving and enhancing the environment has been by dint of local group and community effort and organisation. We are aware that these initiatives have followed from the well springs of social concern that established the fundamental rights to clean air, pure water and good housing. To these, we can now add the right to share our environment with nature and wildlife.

A century ago London people pioneered the use of common land for public amenity at Epping Forest and Wimbledon Common: now is the time for conservationists to take up the common ground throughout London. In the inner city and around the suburbs, our natural heritage is still enclosed within corrugated iron, despoiled or locked behind chain-link fencing. This has been the expropriation of London’s natural heritage by industry, development, greed, waste and mis-conception.

Conservation will liberate this heritage for everyone to enjoy. Through a renaissance of care for the environment, London’s countryside can be recovered; nature and wildlife will reclaim yet the smallest open space on the street or window ledges.

We, the London Wildlife Trust, therefore affirm the rights of London’s people to:

  • clean air 
  • unpolluted water
  • the integrity of our ecological world for our children and theirs
  • ample open space as in the best of the countryside
  • live and plan in harmony with wildlife
  • determine the reasonable use of our land and resources

This declaration was to have been read at a brief inaugural gathering of the Trust on May 5th 1981 when a primrose was to have been planted as a gesture of the Trust’s commitment to conserving and enhancing wildlife in London. Officers of the Department of the Environment, Royal Parks Department, Regents Park and Primrose Hill, refused permission.

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