Improving access to greenspace: A new review for 2020

Becca has worked with Public Health England to co-author their new report on improving access to greenspace.

PHE report

The report is an update of the earlier 2014 report and reviews evidence on the health benefits of living in greener communities, the impact on inequalities in health and makes recommendations to help Local Authorities, policymakers and developers provide equitable greenspaces for communities.

There is increasingly compelling evidence showing that access to greenspaces really matters for our health.

Duncan Selbie, Chief Executive of Public Health England

In the report we identify a number of priorities:

Policy:

  • Consider local green (and blue) space to be critical assets for maintaining and supporting health and wellbeing in local communities.
  • Ensure that local policies and strategies are informed by evidence of need for sufficient access to greenspace.
  • Prioritise improving access to greenspace and creating greener communities especially in areas of deprivation or where there is poor or unequal access, as an important part of the wider plan to reduce health inequalities locally.

Local practice:

  • Support meaningful engagement across local government functions and the community to understand the actual and potential local benefits of greenspace and reveal the complex and diverse ways greenspace is thought about and used.
  • Consider whether a formal valuation of benefits is necessary to strengthen the case for the creation, revitalisation and maintenance of greenspace.
  • Identify and factor in resilient funding arrangements for the maintenance of greenspace as early as possible, so that it can continue to provide benefits in the long term.
  • Establish interventions, such as green social prescribing initiatives, that will support people who do not use greenspace to begin using it.
  • Work with local NHS systems and professionals, including Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships and Integrated Care Systems, to promote the role greenspace plays in both individual and population health outcomes.

Local research:

  • Develop persuasive, evidence-informed case studies that highlight the impact that accessible greenspace has on local health outcomes, especially for disadvantaged groups.
  • Support robust evaluation of local greenspace interventions to help build a broader evidence base.

The report is available from Public Health England.

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