Millions of UK citizens without easy access to green spaces

Over 2.5 million people across Great Britain are more than ten minutes walk from a park or green space, according to new research from the charity Fields in Trust.

The charity developed the Green Space Index which uses Ordnance Survey data to comprehensively analyse park and green space provision across Great Britain.

The Green Space Index shows that although Britain has a total of 216,160 hectares of publicly accessible local parks and green spaces, less than 6% of this space is legally protected with Fields in Trust.

With public sector cuts leading to pressure on parks and green spaces, the charity believes there is a risk that a lack of legal protection could lead to more being sold off or developed.

The charity is highlighting the urgent need to secure and maintain the parks and green spaces we currently have and wants local government and landowners to take steps to legally protect parks and green spaces they own.

In March, research from the researchers from the University of Sheffield argued that the wellbeing of city residents would be significantly improved if there was more funding into green spaces.

Another study from February said that children who grow up with around green spaces have less risk of developing various mental illnesses later in life.

Angela Lewis, Head of Programmes at Fields in Trust, said: ‘Parks and green spaces are much-loved by people and provide many benefits to society.

‘But our new Green Space Index shows, for the first time, that there is insufficient access to parks and green spaces and that far too few are legally protected, leaving those unprotected vulnerable to loss or development.

‘It is concerning that millions of people across the country find themselves with not a single park or green space within a ten-minute walk. It is also worrying that many regions across the country are failing to meet even basic standards of provision.

‘These findings show that there is an urgent need to ensure the current level of park and green space provision is maintained and review what more can be done to legally protect them for future generations to enjoy.’

Last year, Helen Griffiths, CEO of Fields in Trust, wrote in NewStart about what more can be done to protect city parks from increased commercialisation during the summer festival season.

Thomas Barrett
Senior journalist - NewStart Follow him on Twitter


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