A new research report released by Fields in Trust – an independent charity with over 90 years’ experience protecting parks and green spaces – finds that parks and green spaces save the NHS at least £111 million a year in prevented GP visits. The report, ‘Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces’ forms part of a new strategic approach by the Trust to change perceptions by establishing a baseline for the value that parks and green spaces contribute to health and wellbeing.
Compiled using HM Treasury approved research methodology, ‘Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces’ demonstrates National Health Service savings of at least £111 million per year – a figure based solely on prevented GP visits and not including savings from non-referrals for treatment or prescriptions.
Helen Griffiths, Chief Executive of Fields in Trust, said: “This report clearly demonstrates the economic and wellbeing benefits that parks and green spaces bring to people across the UK. At a time when parks and green spaces are under threat this is valuable evidence that the loss of green space is hugely damaging to people’s welfare.”
The Fields in Trust report calculates that parks provide a total economic value to each person in the UK of just over £30 per year and that the value of parks and green spaces is higher for individuals from lower socio-economic groups and also from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. This means that any loss of parks and green spaces will disproportionately impact disadvantaged and underrepresented communities.
The Fields in Trust Strategy Green Spaces for Good is available to download
The ‘Fair Society Healthy Lives’ (The Marmot Review) 2010, recommended that improving the availability of good quality green spaces across the social gradient would help reduce health inequalities.
The 2010 report concluded that reducing health inequalities would require action on six policy objectives including creating and develop healthy and sustainable places
and communities. The report recommended prioritising policies and interventions that reduce both health inequalities such as:
- Improving the availability of good quality open and green spaces across the social
- Improving the food environment in local areas across the social gradient