The Coronavirus crisis has highlighted the importance of green spaces within our communities. People want – and value more than ever– public parks and open green spaces to relax, exercise and meet in.
Our parks represent a significant investment, and their benefits are wide ranging. For every £1 spent on parks in England, an estimated £7 in additional value is generated for the health and well being of local people and the local environment. Parks provide natural benefits to local communities valued at £6.6bn a year, including £2.2bn of avoided health costs.
As we transition out of lockdown there is the opportunity for local authorities to combine the redesign of environmental services for the ‘new normal’ with a renewed emphasis on tackling the climate and ecological crisis.
As outlined in the document published by ADEPT and others, A blueprint for accelerating climate action and a green recovery at the local level, local authorities with their unique insight into their local communities, circumstances and environmental service delivery are well placed to play a major role in reaching the UK’s world-leading legislative target to reach net zero by 2050. This needs underpinning by a supportive policy framework and sufficient resourcing from Government to achieve this.
So, maintaining our green infrastructure is vital. Understanding the number, location and condition of green assets is key to not only maintaining these assets efficiently, but also effective planning for future generations. But we understand local authority parks departments don’t necessarily have the data or resources to collect that information on their own.
The Valuing green space: ADEPT / Yotta webinar featuring Steve Read - Director of Environment and Public Protection at West Sussex County Council and Chair of the ADEPT Environment Board was held on Friday 14th August and discussed the role local authorities will take in the ‘green recovery’. In a short demo, Yotta showed how councils can leverage public engagement and other departments to get an accurate, complete view of their green assets.
View a recording of the webinar here.