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Parks boost health and wellbeing by £34 billion

Britain’s parks and green spaces provide people with more than £34 billion of health and wellbeing benefits, according to new research.

A new report by Fields in Trusts claims the £34 billion is as a result of people enjoying greater life satisfaction, along with improved physical and mental health, directly as a result of using regularly using parks and green spaces.

It adds the nation’s parks and green spaces also save the NHS at least £111 million per year through prevented GP visits.

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.

And the report warns any loss of parks and green spaces will disproportionately impact disadvantaged and underrepresented communities.

But recent research from The Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) shows 95% of parks staff 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 report also 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 charity already permanently protects more than 2,700 parks and green spaces in the UK.
As part of its new strategy Green Spaces for Good, Fields in Trust are committing themselves to protecting more green spaces, with the aim of 75% of the UK population being within a 10-minute walk of a protected park or green space by 2022.
‘This report clearly demonstrates the economic and wellbeing benefits that parks and green spaces bring to people across the UK,’ said Fields in Trust chief executive, Helen Griffiths.

‘At a time when parks and green spaces are under threat this is valuable evidence that the loss of green space is hugely damaging to people’s welfare.

‘The research also confirms that any decision by a public body to remove a park or green space is completely short-sighted – and will in fact likely cost more money than is saved. In health alone parks and green spaces saved the NHS at least £111 million per year through prevented GP visits – enough to pay for more than 3,500 nurses,’ added Ms Griffiths.

‘The evidence is now clear: green spaces are good, they do good and they need to be protected for good. That’s why as part of our new strategy Fields in Trust is committing itself to protecting more green spaces, so that people up and down our country, both now and in the future, can continue to benefit from them.’

 

You can read the full report here.

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