There is a growing body of evidence which suggests that access to the natural environment and green space can increase mental and physical health, wellbeing, and reduce the adverse health effects of social and economic inequalities, in turn contributing to improved quality of life. A report in 2005 showed a one percent reduction in the sedentary population of the UK could provide for a £493 million saving in averted healthcare costs. Therefore by providing local opportunities for exercise there is a significant benefit both in health and monetary terms.
The Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) survey, funded by Natural England, with support from Defra and the Forestry Commission, provides trend data on how people use the natural environment in England. This survey collects information about visits to the natural environment. This includes the type of destination, the duration of the visit, mode of transport, distance travelled, expenditure, main activities and motivations and barriers to visiting. The survey also collects information about other ways that people engage with the natural environment, such as watching wildlife and volunteering.
The MENE data can help potential providers to deliver opportunities for outdoor recreation that would stimulate greater engagement with the natural environment. By providing information about people’s day to day use and enjoyment of the natural environment, MENE enables investors and service providers to base their future investment strategies on quality evidence and to provide improved service to local people.
A list of frequently asked questions: (190kb) (FAQs) has been compiled to improve transparency around the running and reporting of the MENE survey.
Survey method – Fieldwork started in March 2009 with around 800 respondents interviewed every week across England using an in-home interview format. Every year at least 45,000 interviews are undertaken.