News: 16 July 2020Research aids National Trusts call for £5.5bn Green Space Investment

Research generated from our Greenkeeper tool has been used to enable the National Trust's calls to Government to make a £5.5bn commitment to urban green infrastructure funding – in order to level up access to nature and as part of the much trailed ‘infrastructure revolution’ - and has gone on to be published in a number of national newspappers including the Times, Independant and Mail on Sunday.

The research paper (right) makes a powerful economic case for significant investment across the UK, it highlights the inequalities in green space access felt by many of the UK’s most deprived neighbourhoods across our towns and cities and proposes interventions on how to address these. Highlights include:

Highlighting a clear case for investment:

  • Some 295 deprived neighbourhoods of 440,000 people, across Great Britain, that are grey deserts, with no accessible green space or trees.
  • In areas where over 40% of residents are from ethnic minorities there is 11 times less public greenspace, than in areas where residents are largely white and even that is likely to be poorer quality.
  • Also, in the poorest 20% of households across the country 46% do not have access to a car, so these urban green spaces are their only opportunity to have contact with nature...
  • And yet, in all of this, Greenkeeper has proven that it is the physical health and wellbeing value urban greenspaces deliver, that offers the largest benefit for local communities. Until recently these have been very difficult to quantify, but the Greenkeeper team have not only been able to map the greyest areas of Great Britain but also assess the costs of three major of three major interventions and the benefits they would deliver, to level up access to quality green space.

Proposing three interventions:

  • Greening urban streets and neighbourhoods, creating street parks and connecting-up local green spaces to enable safe and attractive walking and cycling for everyone, whether that is to school, work, for leisure or shopping on the high street.
  • Upgrading poor quality parks and green spaces so they are fit for the 21st Century, with more trees and wildlife, cycling routes, and with facilities for communities to significantly boost recreation, play and sport.
  • Creating large regional parks and forests in the urban fringe, on green belt land, connected into the city, to give millions of people the freedom to explore and play in wild natural spaces, without needing a car.

The report goes on to showcase what benefits this investment would deliver, if it was deployed in the areas most in need the programme would reach over £20 million people, nearly a third of the UK population, delivering over £200bn in physical health and wellbeing value to communities.

In addition, the report delves into local economy benefits highlighting that an estimated 40,000 jobs in initial construction and over 6,000 created permanently for ongoing maintenance would be created.

Partner, John Haxworth, our project lead for Greenkeeper said “The value for money of investing in these programmes is incredibly high, but it has been hidden because we haven’t had a way of measuring the benefits that greenspace brings to peoples’ lives. Every £1 spent on levelling up existing parks in deprived areas will generate £100 of benefits across 30 years. Investing in creating new parks and greening urban areas would bring a return of at least three-to-one in the same period – almost twice as much as Crossrail or HS2.”

“Now more than ever, it is vitally important that we increase the provision of and access to urban green infrastructure. Greenkeeper has shown that investment proposed by this report would deliver a tangible and meaningful benefit to those in the most deprived areas of the country, while contributing towards our 2050 net-zero target and providing the country with a legacy of greenspace unseen since the Victorian period.”

Bringing the proposals to life, our landscape designers have shared imagery of how urban streets and ‘grey desert’s’ could be transformed through innovative street. greening, including the above imagery of a transformed ring road in Reading (right) as part of our Reading 2050 Vision work.

View the full report here.

If you’re a local authority, developer, landowner, investor or consultant, Greenkeeper can help you build a case for green space or showcase the economic, environmental, health and social benefits green infrastructure can have. Find out how the Greenkeeper online tool can help you specifically: 



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