Green Spaces

Earl Russell Excerpts
Thursday 1st February 2024

(4 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Asked by
Earl Russell Portrait Earl Russell
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To ask His Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to increase the number of locally available and easily accessible green spaces.

Baroness Penn Portrait The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (Baroness Penn) (Con)
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Our environmental improvement plan includes a commitment that everyone should live within a 15-minute walk of a green or blue space and includes measures to reduce barriers which prevent people accessing them. Progress on this commitment is well under way through the levelling up parks fund, the green infrastructure framework, the urban trees challenge fund, the Access for All programme and the woodland access implementation plan.

Earl Russell Portrait Earl Russell (LD)
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I thank the Minister for the response. I warmly welcome this commitment; it is extremely important. However, 38% of people do not have access to green or blue space. Those who are economically marginalised have the least access of all. Access to green space is vital for our physical, mental and general well-being. Can the Minister confirm what proposals the Government have to deliver the target and when they expect to make progress?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, one of the programmes I mentioned in my initial Answer, the levelling up parks fund, is focused specifically on grants given to and administered by local authorities to deliver new or improved green spaces in more than 100 of the neighbourhoods most deprived of green spaces across the UK. Some 92% of recipients of that funding have reported increases in access to green spaces in deprived urban areas. That is one example of how we are delivering on that commitment. I also reassure the noble Earl that we are working across government to ensure that there is a robust baseline for measuring that commitment, so that we can report on progress in future.