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UK ecosystem assessment warns of decline in green space (Eco news)

UK ecosystem assessment warns of decline in green space
The Guardian reported


Looking after the UK's green spaces better is worth at least £30bn a year in health and welfare benefits, according to the first ever full assessment of the UK's natural environment.

Around one-third of the UK's natural assets – including green spaces, rivers, wetlands and important wildlife habitats – are in danger of being lost to development or degraded through neglect. The report by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) found "a marked decline" in urban green space, with 10,000 playing fields sold off between 1979 and 1997, while only 10% of the UK's allotments remain.

The health benefits of living with a view of a green space are worth up to £300 per person per year, in part by providing areas for people to exercise but also because simply looking at nature lifts people's spirits, according to scientific research. Living close to rivers, coasts and wetlands is also a boon – the benefits to residents are about £1.3bn a year.

But these benefits are rarely taken into account when decisions are made about granting permission for building and other development, and in selling off green spaces such as playing fields.

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