Parks and green spaces need legal protection

A new study has found that 2.6 million people in the UK live more than ten-minutes walk from a park or green space, with less than six per cent of parks and green spaces legally protected.

That is the findings of the Fields in Trust charity, whose Green Space Index stressed that many people are missing the benefits of using parks and their loss would hit disadvantaged and under-represented communities hardest. That is despite research demonstrating that these spaces across the UK provide people with over £34 billion of health and well-being benefits.

The average amount of green space per person in Great Britain is just over 35 square metres, less than half the size of a six-yard box on a football pitch.

With less than six per cent of parks and green spaces legally protected, many are in danger of being sold or developed. Campaigners are therefore urging local councils and landowners to legally protect the parks and green spaces they own.

 The Green Space Index also ranks Britain’s regions and nations against a minimum standard of park and green space provision. According to the Index, Scotland performs better than all other nations in terms of parks and green space provision, as well as outperforming all of the English regions.

Angela Lewis, of the Fields in Trust charity, said: “Parks and green spaces are much-loved by people and provide many benefits to society. But our research shows, for the first time, that there is insufficient access to parks and green spaces. 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.”