Studies have shown that the proximity and accessibility of green spaces in relation to residential areas appears to affect the overall levels of physical activity of inhabitants, for example, people are much more likely to go for a walk if they live close to a park.

A recent study commissioned by Natural England found that people living in neighbourhoods more than a mile from a park had a 27% greater chance of being overweight or obese. According to a Natural England Paper:‘where people have good perceived and/or actual access to green space they are 24% more likely to physically active. If this effect was universal and the population of England was afforded equitable access to green space it is estimated that the life-cost averted saving to the health service could be in the order of £2.1 billion per annum.’

Indeed, there is mounting evidence that lack of physical exercise is costing the NHS 2-3% of its budget. Obesity alone costs the UK economy £1 billion per annum in direct health and social care costs and £3 billion per annum in wider impacts. Improving access to green spaces would therefore have tangible benefits to the UK population and economy as a whole.