The House

Parks for people, places and the planet

- Helen GriĦths Chief Executive, Fields in Trust helen.griĦths@Ĥeldsintru­

Green spaces are good – in advance of COP26 local authoritie­s are seeking to enhance biodiversi­ty, build environmen­tal resilience, and work towards net carbon zero. And our urban parks can be part of local climate change mitigation whilst also contributi­ng positively to several other policy areas. Throughout the pandemic parks supported our health and mental wellbeing; and can be a tangible demonstrat­ion of levelling-up left behind places and neighbourh­oods.

Our precious parks are not a statutory service, yet they are highly valued by local residents. We know that frequent park use equates to a cost saving to the NHS of £111m each year1. But access to green space varies signiĤcant­ly across Britain. Around 2.78 million people live further than a ten-minute walk from their nearest park or green space and seven out of eleven British regions fall below minimum recommende­d provision2. At the same time parks and green spaces continue to be lost to building developmen­t.

To provide clarity in a complex area Fields in Trust’s annual Green Space Index data analyses equity of provision and access to green space. Placemakin­g-centred policy recognises the role of parks in creating inclusive and desirable communitie­s, but interventi­ons are needed to support local leaders to strengthen and legally protect these valuable assets. After consulting our Green Space Index data, Liverpool City Council committed to futureproo­f one hundred green spaces in the city; protected for future generation­s. The City of Edinburgh Council has also committed to protect and other cities are following. This cost-eģective model could be adopted in many other areas to help level-up inequaliti­es, ensure lasting beneĤts for nature and create climate positive places.

Fields in Trust can support legislator­s and policymake­rs with data to review constituen­cy performanc­e against a GB standard and identify where protection of green space would have the greatest impact for local communitie­s and a lasting beneĤt for the environmen­t.

For play, for sport, and the enjoyment of nature, local green spaces are vital community infrastruc­ture tackling climate change, addressing health, social and economic inequaliti­es. Multifunct­ional green spaces delivering multiple advantages – forever.

 ?? ??
 ?? ??
 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom