Natural England - Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment

Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment

People enjoy the natural environment in many different ways. These include visiting the countryside, enjoying green spaces in towns and cities, watching wildlife and volunteering to help protect the natural environment.

The Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) survey, funded by Natural England, with support from Defra and the Forestry Commission, provides trend data on how people use the natural environment in England.

On this page:

Survey content

MENE collects information about visits to the natural environment. This includes the type of destination, the duration of the visit, mode of transport, distance travelled, expenditure, main activities and motivations and barriers to visiting.

The survey also collects information about other ways that people engage with the natural environment, such as watching wildlife and volunteering.

Please see the MENE comparability guide: (153kb)pdf document for information about how MENE compares with other outdoor recreation, sport, leisure and tourism and arts, culture and heritage surveys.

Survey method

Fieldwork started in March 2009 with around 800 respondents interviewed every week across England using an in-home interview format. Every year at least 45,000 interviews are undertaken.

The survey uses a quota sampling method to ensure that results are representative of the English adult population (16 years and over). The MENE Technical Reportexternal link contains details of the survey methodology, weighting, and estimates of margins of error. Please see frequently asked questions about the data: (233kb)pdf document.

For details of the questions included in the survey, please see the questionnaire script: (294kb)pdf document and the questionnaire frequency table: (94kb)pdf document.

Results, publications and data

MENE statistical reporting schedule

Results from year 4

Results from year 3

Results from year 2

Results from year 1

Public Health Outcomes Framework (PHOF) Indicator 1.16 results

Using data from the MENE survey, Natural England is supporting the delivery of public health by local government through a key indicator on green space use.

PHOF Indicator 1.16 relates to the percentage of people using outdoor places for health/exercise reasons. The baseline period relates to March 2009 to February 2012, while the latest findings from March 2012 to February 2013 have now also been made available. Data is published for England, English Regions, and English Upper Tier Local Authorities. 

Please see the Department of Health's interactive web toolexternal link for the complete indicator set and results across England.

MENE On-line Cross-tabulation Viewer

The MENE On-line Cross-tabulation Viewerexternal link allows access to all survey data. With this tool, the survey data can be cross-tabulated, with the data pre-analysed by the required weights.

Raw data

The complete datasets and metadata from the first four years of survey fieldwork are available from Natural England’s publication catalogue. These files were updated in January 2014 to include additional weights and guidance notes for use with Upper-Tier Local Authority level analysis.

Official statistics

The Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 brought all ‘official statistics’ under the remit of the UK Statistics Authority. For further information about how MENE complies with the provisions of the Act, see MENE: compliance with the Statistics & Registration Services Act 2007: (221kb)pdf document.

How Natural England and its partners use the findings

In relation to its remit for promoting public understanding, conservation and enjoyment of the natural environment, Natural England and partners will use the findings to:

  • Inform their work, and that of other interested parties, to link it more closely to need.
  • Evaluate the impact and effectiveness of this work.
  • Measure the impact of policy intervention.

A review of the MENE surveyexternal link was commissioned to examine the current value and extent of the use of MENE. It provides excellent examples of how MENE informs policy, supports national and local decision making, and supports research and scientific studies, projects and reports.

Pre-release access list

The Pre-release Access (PRA) order 2008 limits the circulation of official statistics prior to publication. Prior access is limited to a strict maximum of 24 hours and anyone granted access must not disclose any of the statistics, or indicate their size or trend.

A list of the individuals who received pre-release access to the year four data can be found in the MENE pre-release access list 2012-13: (139kb)pdf document.

Previous surveys

  • England Leisure Visits Survey 2005external link - the survey showed an estimated 3.6 billion leisure trips in England in 2005, down from 5.4 billion in 2002/03.
  • GB Leisure Day Visits Survey 2002/03external link - the survey reports participation in leisure day visits by the adult population (16 years and over) and estimates the scale and value of visits for Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales).

Further information

This list of frequently asked questions: (190kb)pdf document (FAQs) has been compiled to improve transparency around the running and reporting of the MENE survey.

If you cannot find what you are looking for please email
Any queries about the reuse of survey data, the commissioning of bespoke analysis or the possibility of adding questions to the survey programme should be directed to