Regenerate our countryside, regenerate ourselves

1st July 2020

A shared vision for resilient countryside and green spaces after coronavirus.  We must build back better after the pandemic with greater access to nature for all.

The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the vast inequalities that exist between different communities in London over access to beautiful, nature-rich green space. Many people from poorer backgrounds, with special mobility needs, or from black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are less able to reap the physical and mental wellbeing benefits that access to nature can bring. We are calling for action to protect, enhance and increase access to London’s local green spaces and countryside, especially for those who don’t currently benefit.

Neil Sinden, Director of CPRE London said:

‘It is vital for the health of us all that we make it easier for everyone to benefit from time in nature.  Crucially, we need more and better quality green spaces close to where people live.   We’re excited to share our new national manifesto which shows what else needs to be done.’

Regenerate our countryside, regenerate ourselves outlines how government can improve green space access for marginalised groups, including by:

Increasing funding for community outreach projects that have already enabled greater engagement with green spaces and the countryside for marginalised groups. These experiences have been transformative for those who have taken part.

Guaranteeing every child a night in nature in a National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty as part of the national curriculum. Meaningful time in the countryside should be a universal right for every child.

Adapting and expanding the education system’s role to ensure that the adults of tomorrow have the knowledge and understanding to respond to the nature and climate crises. This should include teaching about the role of the countryside in mitigating, and adapting to, climate change.

Elements of the green recovery we need post-pandemic are echoed in our joint manifesto A More Natural Capital which calls for the next Mayor of London to create a greener city for all.

Lockdown has increased awareness of the value of nature and green spaces, and a new recognition of the regenerative possibilities close at hand. We have a unique chance to secure a healthier environment and better future for Londoners, where we can all access nature more easily to explore, grow, and be inspired.