Survey finds local greenspaces are a lifeline in lockdown

A survey by CPRE and the Women’s Institute found that people are appreciating local greenspace more and want to see greenspaces prioritised after lockdown.

Almost two thirds of people think looking after and improving local parks and greenspace should be more of a priority after lockdown.

More than half (53%) of those surveyed said they appreciate local parks and nearby countryside and green belt more since social distancing measures were brought in.

57% felt they were more aware of the importance of such greenspaces to mental health and wellbeing.

Just over a third (35%) of people said they were visiting local greenspace more often since lockdown, and 63% said protecting and enhancing such areas should be more of a priority in the wake of the pandemic.

Crispin Truman, chief executive of CPRE said: “Our countryside and local greenspaces are facing mounting pressure, but the coronavirus pandemic has reminded us why the countryside next door, including our green belts, is so important to ordinary people.

“More people are aware of the health and wellbeing benefits that access to greenspaces delivers and support for protecting and enhancing these after lockdown is impossible for the Government to ignore.

The call comes after the Government’s climate advisers, the Committee on Climate Change, urged ministers to invest in improving parks and planting trees as part of a green recovery to the pandemic.

Lynne Stubbings, chair, National Federation of Women’s Institutes, said greenspaces had been a lifeline to people.

“So many of us have discovered pockets of green right on our doorsteps – a chance to get out in the fresh air, exercise, and support our mental wellbeing, which has been an oasis in difficult times.”

The survey of more than 2,000 people for countryside charity CPRE and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (WI), carried out by Opinium