Natural England - Put nature within 300 metres of everyone in England says Natural England

Put nature within 300 metres of everyone in England says Natural England

10 March 2008

Natural England today (10 March 2008) challenged local authorities, planners and developers at ‘Going Wild’ a national conference, to increase the amount of green areas available on people’s doorsteps.

Speaking at the conference today, Sir Martin Doughty, Chair of Natural England. said: “Wherever you live in England you should be able to access ‘green space’ whether it is a local park, a wildlife garden or even an area of woodland close to where you live.”

Natural England will promote a series of standards to ensure that people, wherever they live, can relax, play, exercise or just escape in their neighbourhood green space.

Sir Martin continued: “These are standards that we all – including national and local government, planners and developers – should aspire to for new developments and when redeveloping and regenerating existing sites.

“Entire generations who grew up in the 80s and 90s became increasingly separated from the natural environment. Natural England wants to reverse this trend particularly for new generations. The success of these standards would ensure that care and concern for the environment is passed onto the next generation, safeguarding it for the future,” concluded Sir Martin.

Natural England is funding a number of pilot projects pdf document, in partnership with a wide range of environmental and community organisations primarily in London to demonstrate what can be achieved when local communities are supported with a little expertise to get projects started and with relatively small sums of money.

Case studies

Hilly Fields – Lewisham, south London

At Hilly Fields in Lewisham the community is growing a wildflower meadow, a biodiversity rich hedge and planting bulbs. Interpretation boards and signage have been put in so that people, especially local school children, can learn more about their local environment. A ‘bird champion’ scheme ensures that there is always food to attract the birds. View more detail pdf document

Weavers and Allen Gardens - Tower Hamlets, east London

This scheme aims to improve biodiversity of a local green space involving children from a nearby school in an educational project on the site. View more detail pdf document

Cromwell Bottom – Calderdale, Yorkshire

To enhance access for disabled visitors this scheme created an interpretation tool for the visually impaired. View more detail pdf document

The Warren - London Borough of Sutton

This project is one of the Greater London Authority’s schemes to tackle ‘areas of deficiency to nature' more than km walking distance to a green space) – while protecting a nationally important habitat through land management methods. View more detail pdf document

Natural England’s Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard says that everyone home should be within 300 m of an accessible natural green space of at least two hectares (ha) which is equivalent in size to two football pitches. Each home should also have access to:

  • at least one accessible 20 ha site within 2 km
  • at least one accessible 100 ha site within 5 km
  • at least one accessible 500 ha site within 10 km

Natural England recently launched a £25 million Big Lottery funded ‘Access to Nature’ scheme – to support projects that bring new audiences into contact with nature.

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Notes for editors

For copies of Sir Martin’s speech or to arrange interviews with Natural England or pilot projects please contact the Natural England press office on 0845 603 9953,, out of hours 07970 098005. For further information about Natural England please visit:

* Going Wild: Access to Natural Greenspace Standards conference.

Natural England works for people, places and nature to conserve and enhance biodiversity, landscapes and wildlife in rural, urban, coastal and marine areas. We conserve and enhance the natural environment for its intrinsic value, the wellbeing and enjoyment of people, and the economic prosperity it brings.

Natural England broadly defines natural green space as:

  • accessible nature conservation areas eg Local Nature Reserves, National Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).
  • formal and informal parks, country parks, canals and rivers, unimproved farmland.

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