New research from Fields in Trust demonstrate that parks and green spaces across the United Kingdom provide people with over £34 billion of health and wellbeing benefits.
The report comes as the Fields in Trust launches a new five-year strategy Green Spaces for Good – including a foreword from the charity’s President, HRH The Duke of Cambridge, who sets out the strategic focus on protecting parks and green spaces for future generations to enjoy.
The new strategic approach is underpinned by research evidence; Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces aims to change perceptions by establishing a baseline for the value that parks and green spaces contribute to health and wellbeing rather than simply being judged by what they cost to maintain. The £34 billion of wellbeing benefits are a result of people enjoying greater life satisfaction including both improved physical and mental health, directly as a result of using regularly using parks and green spaces.
The report also calculates that parks provide a total economic value to each person in the UK of just over £30 per year. The value of parks and green spaces is higher for individuals from lower socio-economic groups and also from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. This means that any loss of parks and green spaces will disproportionately impact disadvantaged and underrepresented communities, precisely those who value them the most.
Although hundreds of thousands of people have been out enjoying parks and green spaces over the Bank Holiday weekend, these much-loved community spaces are increasingly at risk – with recent research from The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE)showing that 95% of parks professionals are concerned that a lack of investment in them will have health and social impacts. In addition, previous research from Fields in Trust showed that nearly one in five people (16%) say that their local park or green space has been under threat of being lost or built on.
The full report Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces is available to download here