Green spaces generate £34 billion of health benefits

Fields in Trust has reported that the UK’s parks and green spaces generate over £34 billion of health and well-being benefits, as well as savings worth £111 million for the NHS each year.

Coinciding with the launch of a new five-year strategy Green Spaces for Good, the Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces research reveals that the £34 billion of well-being benefits result from people enjoying greater life satisfaction and improved physical and mental health by regularly using parks and green spaces. Parks were also found to provide a total economic value to each person in the UK of just over £30 per year.

Looking at prevented GP visits, Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces demonstrates NHS savings of at least £111 million per year, without taking into account savings from non-referrals for treatment or prescriptions.

However, despite the benefits, recent research from The Association for Public Service Excellence reported that 95 per cent of parks professionals fear that a lack of investment in green spaces will have health and social impacts, with 16 per cent of people claiming that their local park or green space has been under threat of being lost or built on.

Fields in Trust is aiming to have 75 per cent of the UK population located within a 10-minute walk of a protected park or green space by 2022.

Helen Griffiths, chief executive of Fields in Trust, said: "This report clearly demonstrates the economic and well-being benefits that parks and green spaces bring to people across the UK. 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. 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."

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