Stand Up For Access To Nature, A Joint Letter To The Secretary of State, Steve Barclay.

Wednesday, 17 January, 2024

The Secretary of State for Envioronment, Food and Rural Affairs, Steve Barclay, has made recent announcements on increasing public access to nature, including publishing a new Woodland Access Plan. At CSH we believe that access to nature is an important component in public health and wellbeing as well as being vital to reducing carbon emissions and helping public bodies like the NHS to meet sustainability guidelines, and whilst these announcements are extremely welcome, we are asking if they go far enough. 

We have joined Wildlife and Countryside LinkEarth TrustIntelligent HealthNPCThe Wildlife Trusts and UK Health Alliance on Climate Change in writing a joint letter to the Secretary of State to highlight further policy opportunities with a range of achievable actions to help people thrive through access to nature.

From reducing stress to preventing and improving a whole range of physical conditions, being in nature gives our health a massive boost. Unfortunately, millions of people still don’t have access to nature near home. Furthermore, there is significant evidence that disadvantaged groups gain the most health benefit from improved access to nature.

Improving access to nature could make our communities better places to live and save up to £200bn for the NHS.

This is an ambitious goal that requires ambitious thinking, but we believe that addressing the following key areas is both necessary and achievable:

  • Targeted fund for levelling up access to the most nature-deprived areas
  • Improving public sector land for nature and access
  • Extending the green social prescribing approach

To learn more about what we suggested to the Secretary of State and how we can start to achieve this goal, read the full letter.