The provision of publicly accessible parks and green spaces is a policy issue at multiple levels of central and local government, devolved national administrations and local authorities. Parks and green spaces are typically free at the point of access and this access is usually unregulated; spaces where people can move, breathe, play and run. However, these fundamental bene ts historically made it difficult to quantify their impact in monetary terms, a crucial element of making a compelling business case to local authorities to support the ongoing funding and existence of parks and green spaces.
Fields in Trust is a UK-wide charity that actively champions parks and green spaces by protecting them in perpetuity; over 2,700 spaces have been protected since the organisation was founded in 1925.
It is the view of Fields in Trust that few public services have such a wide-ranging, positive impact on local communities as parks and green spaces on which to play. Unfortunately, such spaces tend to be valued within local budgets according to their maintenance costs rather than their true dividend to local communities which vastly exceeds such sums because of their multiple bene ts. Parks and green spaces can:
- Contribute to a preventative health agenda
- Reduce future Exchequerexpenditure
- Reduce health inequalities
- Increase social cohesion and equality
To further the case for revaluing parks and greenspaces in terms of the contributions they deliver across diverse policy agendas including tackling obesity, mental health, wellbeing and loneliness, Fields in Trust commissioned Jump X Simetrica to perform new analysis and collect primary data specific to park and green space users in the UK.
This research was conducted in line with HM Treasury best- practice for valuing non-market goods, using two valuation methodologies: Contingent Valuation (stated preference to elicit an individual’s Willingness to Pay) and Wellbeing Valuation (subjective wellbeing assigning equivalent monetary values to life satisfaction survey responses); and additional analysis to quantify partial health cost savings to the Exchequer. We have captured the value of the maintenance and continued existence of publicly accessible parks and green spaces, as well as the health and wellbeing value associated with frequent park use.
APO Editor's note:
A summary document is available