Protecting parks for all

By Helen Griffiths | 13 January 2022

There are few public assets that work as hard as parks. The contribution of green space to prosperous place-making, community health and wellbeing and local climate action is often heralded but rarely adequately funded. Calculating what it costs to maintain our urban green spaces misses the point of what they contribute. For example, our Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces research identifies £111m savings to the NHS each year – simply through reduced GP visits by regular park users. There are many other benefits both financial and social.

As we emerge from the pandemic reflecting on the increased usage of local green spaces – and the growing acknowledgement of their value for our health and wellbeing – there are increased calls to review how our parks can assist with multiple council agendas. Levelling-up, climate change mitigation, developing biodiversity, encouraging volunteering and cultivating community connections are all dependent on locally accessible green space. Yet, The Association for Public Service Excellence’s State of UK Public Parks report still warns of a ‘looming crisis’.

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