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Mapping access to nature in England

This report explores the scale of the problem and the challenges and opportunities that the Government faces in aiming to meet its commitment for all households to be within 15 minutes-walk of nature. 

Find our full press release on this report here

In its Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) announcement, the Government gave a landmark commitment that the public would be able to access green space or water within a 15-minute walk from home. This promise was a welcome feature of this five-year delivery plan to restore nature and the environment, but there was a dearth of detail on how this monumental task would be achieved.

Millions of lives are shortened and worsened by distance from a healthy environment. A chronic lack of nature in people’s lives is a catalyst for ill-health and low productivity; it is a symptom of the worsening state of nature in the UK.

This report explores the scale of the problem and the challenges and opportunities the Government faces in aiming to meet this commitment over the next five years. The challenges are profound, but the reward could be to tip the scales for quality of life, pride of place, health benefits and opportunity creation for our most deprived communities. Turning around a long-term decline in local provision and quality of natural space requires a major shift in course for local authorities. The Government must steer this change through delivering a clear, well-planned mission; mandatory standards and centralised funding.

Transforming its new overarching commitment into on the ground change could help stop the revolving door of declining nature, struggling neighbourhoods and falling public health, and usher in thriving communities that are great for people and wildlife.

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