Saving the Health Service £2bn a year makes parks a smart investment for a Green Recovery
Today, The Parks Alliance (TPA) has published ‘Making Parks Count’ making the business case for parks, why they matter and why they are a ‘smart investment’. The case illustrates how parks in England deliver over £6.6bn of health, climate change and environmental benefits each year including £2.2bn in avoided health costs alone and worth £140 per year for each urban resident. For every £1 spent on parks in England an estimated £7 in additional value for health and wellbeing and the environment is generated. The case clearly demonstrates that parks are a smart investment. Unfortunately, because these returns have never been properly understood, parks have suffered from years of underfunding and there remain gross inequalities in access to quality green spaces across the country. Making Parks Count presents the case for turning this around.
During the COVID19 “lock down” parks were quite rightly championed by politicians and scientists as critical to people’s physical and mental wellbeing and people flocked to their local parks to take exercise, relax or just see their neighbours at a safe distance. Parks have always the most favoured community space and the pandemic strengthened this relationship revealing a greater appreciation of their everyday benefits whilst for parks services and researchers it exposed their proven, and multiple, wellbeing benefits.
The government is committed to a post pandemic Green Recovery that is science-led, clean and resilient and will create employment in the industries of the future while ensuring we address the linked challenges of public health, climate change, and biodiversity. Although finalised just before the pandemic struck ‘Making Parks Count’ underlines how parks are uniquely placed to tackle these 21st century challenges and provide a significant return for any investment made to kick start the economy post COVID19 or as part of a comprehensive Green Recovery.
Matthew Bradbury, Parks Alliance’s Chair said: “Making Parks Count makes the case for parks. This is the first time that research and evidence of the proven benefits of parks in England has been brought together and a value placed on them at a national level. In doing we have exposed the magnitude of the true value of parks for decision makers in local and central government and across health and environment sectors. This shows why parks are a smart investment. Over the last decade the quality of some parks has fallen, the amount of urban green space reduced and opportunities for seizing these benefits lost. Ensuring parks are part of kick starting the economy and the subsequent Green Recovery provides an opportunity to turn this around.”
Making Parks Count low resolution (8 meg) can be downloaded here.
Making Parks Count high resolution (50 meg) can be downloaded here.
An A3 poster Parks the Smart Investment can be downloaded here.
The evidence base supporting the Case for Parks and related Resource Library and links can be found here.
Notes to Editor
The Parks Alliance (TPA) is the voice of UK parks, representing the people and organisations that create, maintain, invest in and use the public green spaces that we are proud to have at the heart of British life. We campaign at local, regional, UK and EU levels to ensure that parks are properly funded, their roles recognized and developed, and that the benefits that they provide are clearly understood and recognized.
The UK-wide Alliance includes over 400 organisations and senior park industry figures from local government parks services, private contractors, industry bodies, NGOs and volunteer and park friends groups.
The Alliance works to promote the issues and developments to enable parks and open spaces and the people who use them to thrive and to understand and share best practice in the management and care of parks and open spaces within the sector and more widely.
The Business Case for Parks was produced in conjunction with the Parks Action Group and funded by MHCLG.
 Endangered Spaces Report. Co-Op. 2019
 Green recovery of the economy and society after COVID-19: UK statement Delivered by Justin Addison, Second Secretary at the UK Delegation to the OSCE, at the virtual OSCE Economic and Environmental Committee Meeting on 3 June 2020.