There is coverage today in The Times and the Yorkshire Post of Natural England’s ‘Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment’ (MENE) reports which were published yesterday.
As the world’s biggest survey of its type, MENE records how often people visit and engage with the natural environment and helps monitor changes in its use over time. The latest reports – for adults and children – analyse the survey data from March 2018 to February 2019 and mark the tenth anniversary of the MENE series.
The headline findings of the new research include:
- Nine out of ten adults in England are concerned about increasing threats to the natural environment, with nearly two-thirds specifically worried about biodiversity loss.
- Health and exercise is the main reason why adults spend time outside.
- Green spaces in towns and cities are the most frequently visited natural environments.
- Children from the most deprived areas are 20% less likely to spend time outside than those in affluent areas, while 70% of children from white backgrounds spend time outside once a week compared to 56% of children from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds.
Marian Spain, Interim Chief Executive of Natural England, said:
“The overwhelming evidence published today makes clear the priority the public give to investing in nature’s recovery. Wildlife and greenspaces are hugely important for people, providing them with places to exercise, socialise, learn and experience the wonder of the natural world. Natural England is committed to restoring nature by working with partners and the public to help deliver Government’s 25 year Environment Plan.
“This research also underlines how important it is that we create new opportunities for people to connect with nature wherever they live and whatever their age. We want everyone to enjoy the many benefits nature brings and also to take part in caring for their environment.”
In its tenth year, MENE is the longest-running survey of its kind which tracks changes in how people use and relate to the natural environment. It comes during the Year of Green Action, a year-long drive to inspire and support people to connect with and improve the natural environment.
Natural England is committed to promoting health and wellbeing through the natural environment, helping more people from a wider cross-section of society benefit directly from the environment. It is currently working with the Department for Education and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on the Children and Nature programme to improve the physical and mental wellbeing of children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This includes delivering green school grounds, supporting pupil visits to green spaces and improving woodland outreach activities.