New data by Natural England shows the majority of children and young people are regularly spending time outdoors.
This came from Natural England’s Monitoring of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) report. It found that 70% of all children in England under the age of 16, and 64% of young people aged 16-24 are said to be spending time outside at least once a week. But, there are still clear inequalities with children living in lower income areas. This is due to them being less likely to visit the natural environment compared with those living in areas of higher income.
The findings highlight the importance of local green spaces, for children’s play and experience of the natural world. With these spaces becoming even more vital for children who are least likely to visit the natural environment often.
Natural England is leading a new cross-government project to review and update standards for green infrastructure. This is as well as working with the Parks Action Group, to overcome barriers to access. As well as ensuring England’s public parks and green spaces meet the needs of communities now and in the future.
The government, through its 25 Year Environment Plan, has set a target to improve the environment within a generation. They started this with the launch of the Year of Green Action. This focuses on connecting people with the environment to improve health and wellbeing.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove recently announced the Children and Nature Programme. Awarding £10m in funding to help support more children from deprived areas to have experiences in nature. This includes school grounds, community forests, woodlands and care farms.