The governments of the UK are not only failing to protect our nature, but they are failing to ensure that every person in the UK has equitable access to it.
Why do we need the Nature Nearby campaign?
Lack of access to green space entrenches existing divisions within society: those from black or other ethnic minorities, lower incomes, with disabilities and young people are much less likely to have access to private green space. 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 in urban areas alone provide hundreds of millions of £s benefit to the UK every year through clean water, clean air, shade, and storing carbon. 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 benefits it has for our society.
What are the demands of the Nature Nearby Campaign?
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 and invest £10bn in improving the quality of existing spaces
- Make existing urban green spaces, parks and Local Wildlife Sites protected designations in planning reforms
- Conduct an urgent review of all high-carbon infrastructure to ensure compatibility with emissions targets. Where incompatible, divert funding to new green and local infrastructure
- 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.
The Nature Nearby Big Listening Exercise
Making sure that our campaign integrates, distils and represents a vast range of experience and opinion has been a critical part of this campaign and drafting the demands of this letter. As a youth movement we know, and knew when we first began, that we need to listen, really listen to and question people and their experiences. This was a gorgeous part of the campaign process, we got so much more than we could ever have imagined, and will be continuing this exercise as we push the campaign forward.
If you would like to share your views with us, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Petition and letter to the Prime Minister
On the 18th November we sent a letter to the Prime Minister with the demands of our campaign, signed by 50+ organisations.
We launched this petition: Demand that the UK Government invests in giving everyone equal access to nature
How to get involved?