CPRE study shows how ‘out of reach’ England’s natural beauty is for city dwellers
CPRE published some really interesting research this week, reviewing the accessibility of natural landscapes for some of our most deprived inner city communities. New maps show 36% of England’s population live too far from the current network of 10 National Parks and 34 AONBs for these areas to be classified as easily accessible.
The maps show the majority of people living in many major towns and cities – including Liverpool, Chester, Leicester, Cambridge, Northampton and Peterborough – live outside the accessible catchment area of these beauty spots. They are therefore more likely to miss out on benefits that easy and regular access to these landscapes can bring. The maps also highlight a strong correlation between levels of social deprivation and a lack of access to National Parks and AONBs. Almost half of the most socially deprived areas of the country fall outside of the accessible range. CPRE feel that “the frequent lack of affordable and sustainable transport options can mean that many people in these areas are simply not able to access these places to enjoy the huge benefits they provide.”
Some neighbourhoods are up to 15 miles from natural landscapes. That’s a long way, when public transport is limited and invariably focused on getting people into cities, not out to nature. And without access to natural landscapes, urban green infrastructure within our cities and towns becomes ever more important.
How can Greenkeeper help?
The University of Exeter team on the Greenkeeper project are well advanced with testing and applying metrics which measure and prove the benefits of immersion in greenspaces, and the mental health metrics in particular are astounding. If we can prove these benefits, we can surely work alongside the likes of CPRE, to improve not only access out to AONBs but also the access and quality of infrastructure within!