Image: ONS / contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.

The ONS have published the UK Natural Capital Accounts for 2023

The Office for National Statistics report that in 2021, the total asset value of ecosystem services in the UK was just over £1.5 trillion, an increase of 3% since 2017. Cultural services – including recreation, health benefits and tourism - made up the majority of the asset value (61%), followed by provisioning (32%) and regulating (7%) services. 

The work forms part of the UK Natural Capital Accounts for 2023.

ONS also report that sadly, a
 million fewer people across the UK are gaining health benefits from nature since 2020. The value of those lost health benefits was estimated at around £390 million, equivalent to £356 per person on average. 

The ONS cite Natural England survey data which shows that poor health and being busy at work and home are barriers to visiting nature – arguments, together with the impact on people's lives and the the financial cost of lost health benefits, for making high quality urban greenspace readily accessible wherever people live. 

The natural environment in urban areas remains consistently the most popular UK habitat to visit, though visits fell by 39% between 2019 and 2022.  

You can read an ONS explanation of findings and access the data sets here.