A rapid scoping review of health and wellbeing evidence for the Framework of Green Infrastructure
01 Oct 2020
A surge in people visiting parks, beaches and nature reserves during the past few months of the coronavirus (Covid 19) pandemic has underlined the importance of green infrastructure1 for health and wellbeing.Local green and natural spaces have played a vital role in offering people under lockdown opportunities for exercise, fresh air, contact with nature, and play and relaxation. They have been especially important for people living in the one in eight homes that do not have a garden. Covid 19 has also highlighted the inequalities that exist in people’s access to private gardens and to parks and green spaces.This review of evidence for the health and wellbeing benefits of green infrastructure sets out the sizeable body of research that underlines the importance of creating more, bigger, better and joined-up green spaces, especially near to where people live, and to address inequalities. It also identifies the beneficial role of social interventions such as media campaigns to increase awareness of green spaces, or holding community events in a natural environment. Finally, it reviews the wider health and wellbeing role of green infrastructure, for example in nature recovery, addressing climate change and mitigating noise and air pollution.This evidence review was achieved through collaborating with experts across public bodies to drive policies for public health benefits. It will inform the emerging Framework of Green Infrastructure Standards being led by Natural England, which aims to help stakeholders enhance the nation’s green infrastructure provision so that it can play a vital role in the nation’s green recovery from Covid-19. Nature needs to move to front and centre in how we plan for the future of our country at this pivotal moment.