Keep local green spaces open during lockdown, CPRE says

24th April 2020

The Local Government Minister has written to local authorities urging them to keep making their green spaces available to residents during lockdown – and we agree.

Simon Clarke, the Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government, has encouraged local authorities to keep parks and public spaces open as far as possible during the coronavirus lockdown. In a letter to councils, he said:

‘The ability to step outside, take exercise and enjoy fresh air is important for so many of us at this difficult time. For many people, especially families with children and those who live in homes without a garden, access to public parks is a lifeline.’

Inequalities laid bare

We at CPRE, the countryside charity, agree that these spaces are giving so many of us an essential boost to our health and wellbeing during these uncertain times. Our chief executive, Crispin Truman, said:

‘Now more than ever, everyone should have access to some local green space for their health and wellbeing. The Local Government Minister is right to call for parks and public space to remain open and we welcome his letter to local authorities today.

'The evidence is clear that minority groups and disadvantaged communities are less likely to benefit from countryside and access to nature.'

‘However, the coronavirus pandemic is shining a light on the deep inequalities that exist in who is able to make use of green space or countryside near to where they live. The evidence is clear that minority groups and disadvantaged communities are less likely to benefit from countryside and access to nature.

‘Everyone should feel they belong in the countryside and we should all be able to value and care for it. There’s much that we can do to open up more quality green spaces near where people live. It’s heartening to hear ministers espousing the value of time outdoors, and we hope the government will follow up on this by investing in our local green spaces, Green Belt and the countryside next door.’

A man walks with a buggy on a path, holding a small girl by the hand