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Lockdown learnings: we want richer green spaces - CPRE

Over two-thirds of us want to see our local green spaces enhanced with more plants and wildlife, our new research shows.

It was perhaps natural that the lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic would affect how we feel about our local green spaces. Data from the Office of National Statistics shows that one in every eight households don’t have access to our own gardens, so daily exercise in nearby countryside and parks and other green spaces became a lifeline to many.

We at CPRE have long campaigned for us all to have easy access to quality green spaces from our doorsteps. And new online research that we commissioned just as lockdown started, working with the HomeOwners Alliance, shows that our time in a pandemic has really reinforced just how much people want these green spaces to be the best they can be.

Making green spaces greener

We asked over 2000 people some key questions about their green spaces, and 71% of those we asked told us that they would like to see these enhanced. Our survey shows the many ways that people would like to see these local spaces, including their nearby countryside, made even better. Over half said they’d like to see more wildlife including birds, butterflies and bees, and almost exactly the same amount of people said they want more variety in the trees, shrubs, hedgerows, plants and flowers in these areas. It seems we’re all hoping for rich and diverse spaces in which to rest and play.

It’s not neat lawns many people are picturing, either. 30% told us that they’d like to see fewer manicured spaces and more wildness, where nature has been allowed to take its course. And we want to explore and exercise safely in these areas, with over a third of people saying they’d like more signposted walks and 34% saying they’d like paths and plants to be better maintained.

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