Natural England has published a rapid scoping review of evidence on the health and wellbeing benefits of green infrastructure. The review found that people who live in neighbourhoods with greater amounts of green infrastructure tend to be happier, healthier and live longer lives than those who live in less green places. While it is likely that everybody benefits from green infrastructure, it suggested that more disadvantaged communities may benefit the most.

The review aimed to understand more about the types and amounts of green infrastructure that are most beneficial for the health of different communities to help local authorities, landowners and communities enhance the nation’s green infrastructure provision. It is part of a project to develop a framework for green infrastructure standards.

The report found that:

  • Having different types of green infrastructure close to people’s homes, places of work or education, or along transportation routes, is likely to maximise the potential ways in which people benefit.
  • Both public green infrastructure, such as street trees, parks, and playgrounds and private ones such as gardens are important and support health in different ways.
  • Green infrastructure that is well looked after is more likely to be perceived as safe and inviting, and therefore used.
  • A good understanding of the needs and desires of local communities will help ensure new or improved provision of green infrastructure is suitable.
  • Care must be taken to understand the potential impacts of actions and to ensure that provision of green infrastructure is equitable, fair and does not increase inequalities in health between different social groups.

The development of the National Framework of Green Infrastructure Standards, a commitment in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan, aims to green our towns and cities for health and wellbeing, nature, climate resilience and prosperity, in particular for disadvantaged urban populations.

Read the blog and report