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Revealed – Over 300,000 people in the East of England don’t have a ‘local’ park

PUBLISHED: 08:46 29 May 2020 | UPDATED: 08:46 29 May 2020

The Fields in Trust research shows that green spaces and parks such as Christchurch Park will be overrun in the future due to population growth. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The Fields in Trust research shows that green spaces and parks such as Christchurch Park will be overrun in the future due to population growth. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Archant

While many people are learning to appreciate the outdoors more during the lockdown, environmental campaigners are warning of the threat population growth is posing to green spaces in the East of England.

The Fields in Trust research shows that green spaces and parks such as Christchurch Park will be overrun in the future due to population growth. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Fields in Trust research shows that green spaces and parks such as Christchurch Park will be overrun in the future due to population growth. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

The region can currently boast a high ratio of green space per person in comparison with other areas of the UK but the predicted population growth over the next few decades could see that plummet.

More people are living in the area but there won’t be enough parks and green spaces for them to access and Extinction Rebellion member Tina Smith is concerned that Suffolk isn’t making best use of it’s natural resources.

Miss Smith said: “You only need to drive around the area to see how many developments there are.

“We know green spaces are so important for clean air, mental health, physical health and we need to create more spaces in built up towns and cities.

Tina Smith is a member of Extinction Rebellion in Ipswich and says we aren't doing enough to protect our green spaces. Pciture: TINA SMITHTina Smith is a member of Extinction Rebellion in Ipswich and says we aren't doing enough to protect our green spaces. Pciture: TINA SMITH

“However, a lot of these new housing developments are due to be built, or have been built on green spaces, instead of brownfield sites.”

The annual Green Space Index was compiled by charity Fields in Trust and shows that 329,846 people in the East of England live more than a 10 minute walk away from a public park and this is set to increase by 11.6% over the next five years.

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The annual Green Space Index was compiled by charity Fields in Trust and shows that 329,846 people in the East of England live more than a 10 minute walk away from a public park and this is set to increase by 11.6% over the next five years.

The Fields in Trust research shows that green spaces and parks such as Christchurch Park will be overrun in the future due to population growth. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNThe Fields in Trust research shows that green spaces and parks such as Christchurch Park will be overrun in the future due to population growth. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

While the region currently exceeds the minimum level of park and green space provision by 13%, it is predicted to have the highest increase in the UK of people living without a park or green space over the next five years.

Extinction Rebellion has suggested methods of increasing green spaces within cities and towns, including guerilla planting in flower boxes, abandoned green spaces and encourage communities to reclaim land which can be made more green.

Due to the coronavirus crisis experts are predicting that there will be many people looking to move out into greener areas, but Miss Smith is concerned for those who cannot afford the luxury.

She added: “It’s all very well and good that some people can move to a greener area but they are a privileged minority because many don’t have the money to move or drive somewhere for their daily walk.

Tina Smith is a member of Extinction Rebellion in Ipswich and says we aren't doing enough to protect our green spaces and parks. Picture: TINA SMITHTina Smith is a member of Extinction Rebellion in Ipswich and says we aren't doing enough to protect our green spaces and parks. Picture: TINA SMITH

“We need green spaces for them too.”


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