Every pound invested in parks and nature reserves contributes £30 towards health and wellbeing benefits and £23 towards crime reduction and community safety.
Those are the findings uncovered by national land management charity, the Land Trust, which commissioned an independent study by economic consultants, Carney Green to assess the value of the green spaces in its portfolio.
The study also found that for every £1 spend by the Land Trust in maintaining its parks and nature reserves; people value this at two and a half times higher.
The study measured the impact of Land Trust services to identify the value that people place on their local green space as well as to estimate the financial value it contributes to the health and social sectors.
The results were emphatic, demonstrating that green spaces are not just good for the environment, they are good for society.
Among those surveyed (as part of the study), nine out of 10 people visiting Land Trust’s spaces felt that they play a positive part in their happiness and wellbeing.
The study revealed that people using Land Trust green spaces have higher levels of satisfaction and wellbeing and lower levels of anxiety compared to the national averages (the survey used the same wellbeing questions as those from the Office for National Statistics annual household survey).
The most popular reasons for spending time in parks were for exercise, leisure and recreation, at 56 per cent.
Walking the dog and enjoying wildlife/nature were also popular reasons for using the parks, at 45 per cent and 39 per cent, respectively.
25 – 30 per cent of park users also saw the value in using open space to “relax and get away from work”, spend time with their family, relieve stress, ‘let off steam’ and ‘feel refreshed’.
9 out of 10 people also believed that green spaces make their area more desirable; “because of Port Sunlight River Park, I am now proud to tell people where I live”.
Euan Hall, CEO of the Land Trust said “We have always known that well managed green spaces provide significant benefits for society, but the results of this study are really encouraging and they reinforce the importance of our work in sustainably managing our green spaces. Seeing the results quantified so starkly in this context is fantastic. This is a major step forward for us and reaffirms the opportunities we have for providing even more benefits to society.”
The study shows that the Land Trust’s sustainably managed green spaces deliver multiple benefits and make a significant contribution for local people to feel healthier, happier, safer and wealthier.
See the summary report here
Land, in particular public open space and wildlife, has always been my passion and here at the Land Trust I get to make a difference. I enjoy covering a large area of England and Wales and seeing a wide variety of sites. No site is the same, so it makes my job interesting.
Alison Whitehead, Development Manager
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