Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces
- Parks and Green Spaces contribute £34.2 Billion per year to UK community health and wellbeing
- The Total Economic Value to an individual is £30.24 per year
- Using parks and green spaces equates to better general health which translates into a £111Million saving to the NHS per year due to fewer visits to the GP
New research, published by charity Fields in Trust, reveals that regular parks and green space use makes a significant economic contribution of £34.2 Billion to the UK’s health and wellbeing.
The new report “Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces - measuring their economic and wellbeing value to individuals” is conducted in line with HM Treasury best practice on valuing non-market goods. The average Total Economic Value of parks and green spaces to an individual is £30.24 per year, this captures benefits gained from using local parks as well as their preservation for future generations.
Further analysis shows that being a frequent park user is associated with a reduction in GP-related medical costs which is estimated to save the NHS around £111 million per year, that figure does not account for other savings from reduced prescribing, referrals or social care costs.
The new data clearly shows that local parks and green spaces are democratic spaces and can play an important role in providing social cohesion and integration.
Fields in Trust Chief Executive, Helen Griffiths, said “Parks and green spaces are not simply nice to have; they are a necessity for healthy, happy communities positively impacting on a range of key wellbeing issues from physical and mental health, childhood obesity to social cohesion.
These substantial and quantifiable health and wellbeing benefits make a robust, evidence-led business case for parks and green spaces to be considered in terms of their contribution to society rather than being assessed simply in terms of their cost. We have also been able to partially quantify the contribution that parks and green spaces make to the preventative health agenda supporting the idea that access to good quality green spaces across the social gradient will help reduce health inequalities.
We believe this new research will help to support more informed judgements when difficult choices must be made about how best to use land.”
Applying welfare weighting to individual values for the first time represents a considerable advance on previous studies of parks and green spaces in the UK and internationally. One of the most significant findings of this research is the clear demonstration that when welfare weighting is applied, lower socio-economic groups and Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic (BAME) groups ascribe a much higher value to parks and green spaces than the national average. Lower socio-economic groups report a welfare-weighted value of £51.84 per year and BAME groups value parks and green spaces more than double the UK average at £70.08 per year. It is the view of Fields in Trust that, in a difficult economic climate, the provision of parks and green spaces should be prioritised in areas with lower-socio-economic groups and a higher representation of BAME communities given the disproportionately high levels of benefits that these groups derive from parks and green spaces
Fields in Trust will be developing the research into a Local Valuation Model by applying the value to individual parks and green spaces. As part of the application of a robust, data-driven and strategic approach to protecting parks and green spaces, Fields in Trust are reviewing and mapping the quantity and distribution of green space in line with their long-standing “Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play: Beyond the Six Acre Standard”. They also monitor the loss of parks and green spaces across the country to help us build a better picture of the trends and how we can stem these losses.
The Research is launched alongside a new Corporate Strategy for the Fields in Trust Charity which sees the organisation commit to an ambitious aim of protecting a park or green space within a ten-minute walk of 75% of the UK population, as well as supporting landowners, community groups and individuals to maintain and improve their sites, whilst championing their value at local and national levels. Parks and green spaces impact on a range of key wellbeing issues from physical and mental health to community cohesion but they are an undervalued resource.
The full report Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces: Measuring their Economic and Wellbeing Value to Individuals and a summary paper are available on the Fields in Trust website www.fieldsintrust.org