Here at UK Youth for Nature, we are committed to protecting nature and wildlife across the country. As highlighted by our ‘Vanishing’ campaign, the governments of the UK are failing to protect our nature. As well as failing to protect this nature, they are failing to ensure that every person in the UK has equitable access to it. This is where the Nature Nearby Campaign comes in.
Why do we need the Nature Nearby campaign?
Access to nature is not fair and equal across the UK. Those earning lower incomes; from urban areas; and members of BAME communities are far less likely to have access to private or public green spaces. Other findings that have highlighted the disparities in access to nature across the UK include:
– 2.5 million people in the UK must walk longer than 10 minutes to access any form of green space,
– the percentage of homes without a garden is higher among ethnic minorities, with Black people in England nearly 4x as likely as White people to have no outdoor space at home,
– there are currently 37,500 hectares of publicly accessible green space in Great Britain,
– there are over 16,000 hectares of urban golf courses, which are not publicly accessible, and just over 1% of the population regularly plays golf.
Access to nature and wildlife have been shown to have incredible benefits on the physical, mental and emotional wellbeing of people. In addition, green spaces within urban areas are estimated to alone provide hundreds of millions in monetary benefit to the UK every year through clean water, clean air, shade, and carbon storage. This is not to mention the important ecological sanctuaries that many native species rely on.
It is vital we protect nature, not only for the intrinsic value of nature itself, but also for the improvements in wellbeing for members of our society.
What are the demands of the Nature Nearby Campaign?
In short, we are calling on the governments of the UK to improve the quantity, quality and accessibility of green space in the UK. We want to ensure that green spaces are accessible to all, allowing all people in the UK to enjoy nature and wildlife. Some of our specific demands include:
- Double urban, publicly accessible green space across the UK.
- Take all money due to be invested in roads and airports and redirect it to cycle lanes, public footpaths and bridleways.
- Use Biodiversity Gain money to prioritise new urban green space in city centres.
- Invest £1 billion in a Get Outdoors scheme across the four UK countries initiative to help young people, BAME communities, urban communities and those with diagnosed mental illnesses get outside to green spaces in or near to where they live.
- Ensure that 100% of urban ASSIs and SSSIs are at ‘Favourable Condition’ by 2030.
- Reverse the funding cuts to parks and other public green space.
How to get involved?
The Nature Nearby Big Listening Exercise
What began as a listening exercise to fill the gaps in our knowledge and understanding has developed beyond that to become a genuine exploration of the issue of access to nature. From the barriers that may be preventing people from accessing nature (be they geographical, physical, cultural, economic or otherwise) to the most effective steps that can be taken to remedy them, we have gathered a large amount of information on this area. This has helped form our campaign. If you would like to share your views with us, please contact email@example.com.
Check back soon for more information about our petition and letter to the Prime Minister.