RSPB urges candidates in England’s mayoral election in May to make investing in nature a priority as a new report says it could create jobs, reduce inequality and save billions of dollars in the NHS – all while saving lives.
Recovering togther 2 report published today summarizes the social, environmental and economic benefits of investing in nature.
- 2.1 billion pounds – annual savings for the NHS if everyone in England had good access to green space.
- 16 billion pounds – Costs to the UK economy if nature is not preserved and biodiversity loss reversed.
- £ 60 billion – The value of environmental goods and services to the UK economy in 2015.
- 750,000 – Number of full-time positions supported by the natural environment in the UK.
- 11 million – Number of people in England living in areas with limited access to green spaces.
- 84% – Percentage of adults in England in favor of the government, increasing the number of natural areas accessible.
The RSPB urges England Underground mayors and candidates running for Mayoral elections to make investing in nature a priority as a new report suggests they could save lives by helping the public Improve health and reduce inequality in access to natural green spaces.
Restore together 2 relies on studies by organizations such as Public Health England, the Office of National Statistics and WWF to provide evidence of the value of nature’s contribution to our health, economy and prosperity.
Brown Hare, Copyright Glyn Sellors, from the Surfbirds Galleries
The report highlights evidence of unequal access to nature and its benefits for people of different economic groups and ethnic backgrounds, as well as corresponding differences in health outcomes.
Reported statistics on access to nature include:
- People with an annual household income of less than £ 10,000 are 3.6 times more likely to have no outdoor space and 40% less living near publicly accessible natural green spaces than the richest 10% of households.
- The wealthiest 20% of urban counties in England have five times more parks and green spaces than the most deprived 10% of counties.
- “Black people in England are almost four times more likely than whites to have no outside space at home” – ONS.
Inequality in health outcomes from COVID-19
- ONS data shows that the COVID-19 death rate in the most deprived areas of England was more than double that of the least deprived areas.
- An ONS report of COVID-19 deaths by ethnic group found that “black men are 4.2 times more likely to die from a COVID19-related death and black women are 4.3 times more likely than men and women of white ethnicity” .
Emma Marsh, The director of RSPB England said: “What this report shows is not only that investing in nature creates jobs at a time when it is badly needed, but it is also important to address some of the most pressing social and health inequalities in the parts of our cities where people currently have little access to nature and green spaces.
“England’s Underground Mayors play a vital role as the elected leaders of some of our largest cities and metropolitan areas. With elections coming up for many of them in May, we urge all seated and budding mayors to put investing in nature high on their agenda so that no one is left behind when we try to improve the country. “
Restore together 2 follows the publication of the first joint recovery report on the results of the YouGov study commissioned by RSPB, which found that people in England are predominantly protecting and investing in nature as part of our economic recovery from the effects of COVID-19 support.
In addition to jobs, health, and the economy, investing in nature is vital to managing dual climates and ecological emergencies, and can help bring wildlife back to the unsanitary urban environments from which it has been lost.
Birds, bees, bats and butterflies also benefit from investments that increase the number of trees and natural green spaces in our cities or create new wetlands that help protect homes and businesses from flooding.
Emma Marsh: “Climate change and biodiversity loss did not go away as problems during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the urgency to take action has never been greater. That public support for action against climate change and the protection of nature remains strong speaks volumes about how important nature has been to people this year.
“It is not just the people who will benefit from the enlargement and improvement of the natural green spaces – the animal world will also welcome the change. Having more trees, parks, wetlands, and wildflowers where we live is good for us, it’s good for wildlife, and it’s good for the environment. The only question is, why aren’t we already investing more? “