Fields in Trust’s annual Green Space Index on Great Britain’s parks and green spaces has found that nearly 10% of people in the UK do not have either of these within local walking distance.
The study conducted by the charity shows that 6.1 million people living in the UK are without access to a green space within a 10 minute walk, highlighting a disparity in green space to household ratio.
Studies have suggested that access to green spaces holds a great number of wellbeing benefits, highlighting their importance in communities. Research conducted by the charity in 2022 shows that local parks generate around £34 billion of wellbeing benefit to the UK each year, saving the NHS from reduced GP visits.
At present, there is no minimum provision of green spaces required by local authorities to designate or protect.
Fields in Trust states that 4,000 new green spaces are needed by 2033 to maintain the current level of park provision per person. As urban expansion and population increases, so will this minimum.
Earlier this year, the government set out a 25 year Environmental Improvement Plan to ensure that everyone has access to green and blue spaces within a 15 minute walk. It has set aside £9 million in Levelling-Up funding to create 100 new parks, with a further £39 million for the restoration and maintenance of those in worsening conditions.
Clive Betts MP, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee and trustee of Fields in Trust, stated: “With the King’s Fund research finding that real terms public health funding has fallen by 25% over just five years, access to free green space with all the benefits it provides, has never been more important.”
“It’s vital that providing these spaces for everyone is a key element of the government’s Levelling-Up policy, and deeply disappointing that over six million people still don’t have access to green spaces. We must now take the opportunity through the Levelling-Up measures to bring in policy change that puts health and wellbeing at the heart of our communities.”
Fields in Trust says that, while these steps are in the right direction, the UK will still be 4,000 parks short to maintain the current average provision.
The charity says it will continue to champion the demand for accessible green spaces for everyone.
4th Corner are based in Banbury, which does not meet the minimum standard of green space provision according to Fields in Trust. We have just 25.59 square metres of green space per person, with almost 9,000 people not within a 10 minute walk of green space.
To read more about the latest analysis of Great Britain’s publicly accessible park and green space provision, click here.