Green Space Index reveals importance of local parks for achieving Levelling-Up
Posted: Fri, 20 May 2022 09:40
This year our annual Green Space Index analysis of the provision and distribution of parks and green spaces looks at the Government's flagship Levelling-Up agenda. We have identified that 40% of areas with the lowest GSI Score fall into Government's priority Levelling-Up locations.
Local authorities in these areas already have, on average, 10% less green space provision when benchmarked against the amount communities need to thrive and the situation is set to get worse as the amount of green space per person in priority areas will decline by 2040 as population grows.
Our Green Space Index analysis demonstrates the disparities between nations and regions that the Levelling-Up programme is attempting to rectify. Analysis of the findings indicates that Britain's local parks and green spaces could have a significant role to play in restoring a sense of community and local pride as well as contributing to health, wellbeing and climate change resilience.
Speaking at the launch of the new analysis at the Palace of Westminster, Chair of the Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Committee and Trustee of Fields in Trust, Clive Betts MP, said: "The role of green infrastructure in planning and healthy place-making should be central to government ambitions to rebalance geographic inequalities. Yet 2.8 million people already live more than a ten-minute walk from a public park, with levelling-up target areas having around 10% less green space than the average across Britain."
Alongside their value for community health and wellbeing, local parks have a vital role to play in supporting our environment. These spaces improve air quality, capture harmful carbon and boost biodiversity.
Levelling-up requires a focused, long-term plan of action if it is to act upon the drivers of spatial disparity. Ensuring all neighbourhoods have accessible provision of parks and green spaces can help address a complex set of targets set by Government which include improving pride of place, developing climate resilience, and improving local community infrastructure.
Fields in Trust's analysis suggests that, unless local parks and green spaces are protected in the long-term, any levelling-up interventions will be transitory.