Fields in Trust Green Space Index launched: At an event in Edinburgh, Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge helped to launch the Fields in Trust Green Space Index which reveals that, despite their value for health, wellbeing and climate change mitigation, some parts of the UK have access to 50% less green space than others and 2.8m people in Great Britain live more than a ten-minute walk from their nearest park.
The parks and green spaces that have been so vital to the nation’s wellbeing during lockdown are not equally accessible to all, according to new data from green space charity Fields in Trust. The Green Space Index is an annual barometer of green space provision and distribution and shows that people in the most well provisioned locations have the equivalent of 45m2 of accessible parks and green space per person compared to just 19m2 per capita in others. Areas with the least provision tend to be those with a higher incidence of deprivation – precisely the communities who benefit most from green space access.
The visit came ahead of COP26 climate change conference, which will be taking place in Glasgow later this year, with today’s event one of several projects which have a positive effect on climate change that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have visited across Scotland. Urban parks and green spaces boost air quality, support habitats and mitigate the effects of climate change.
At the event in Starbank Park, Edinburgh’s Lord Provost, Frank Ross, announced that the City of Edinburgh Council would be using the Green Space Index to determine strategic green space locations. He said: “Edinburgh is already a wonderfully green city, and we want to ensure it remains that way for generations to come.
“I’m extremely pleased to announce that the City of Edinburgh Council will be looking to partner with Fields in Trust in protecting in perpetuity a further 25 green spaces – adding to the 34 already protected. This will mean that almost everyone in Edinburgh will be within a ten-minute walk of a protected green space, ensuring that for years to come citizens are guaranteed a lifetime of opportunity for activity, play, learning, recuperation and community.
“Scores of volunteers across the city work alongside the Council to support our parks, green spaces and cemeteries. We are very grateful to Friends of Starbank Park their ongoing hard work and dedication and we will continue to work with them to make sure these important areas are preserved for the benefit of our future generations.”
The City of Edinburgh Council are the first Local Authority in Scotland to adopt this approach and follow the pioneering example set by Liverpool City Council in March 2021 to protect all 100 parks in the City.
During the event Their Royal Highnesses met with volunteers from the Friends of Starbank Park Group and park users of all ages who have found sanctuary in the park over the last year as a place to play, exercise, relax, and reflect.
Fields in Trust Chair of Trustees, Jo Barnett said: “Through the pandemic we’ve realised just how valuable parks and green spaces are to our health and wellbeing, yet across the UK only 6% of parks are protected and access to them is not equitable. The proven physical and mental health benefits of local parks is unchallenged. These are valuable places; places where we can all move, breathe, run and play. Fields in Trust welcome this significant commitment by the City of Edinburgh Council, we need to champion and support these precious spaces by protecting them for future generations to enjoy. Because once lost, they are lost forever.”
Full details of the Green Space Index – including an interactive web app to explore local provision can be found on the Fields in Trust website www.fieldsintrust.org
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