New figures reveal £91bn value of London’s parks and green spaces

Ellie Fosterin Parks

The research, undertaken by economists at Vivid Economics, and commissioned by the Mayor of London, HLF and National Trust determines the monetary value of public green spaces in relation to people's physical and mental health, recreation and amenity. This could aid decisions about future strategy, management and levels of investment in public parks and greenspaces.

The report provides a compelling set of evidence about the functions of green space that are most important to London's economy. Key findings include:

London's public green spaces have a gross asset value of £5b a year, amounting to £91b over 30 years of value, appropriately discounted. Individuals, public services and businesses all benefit from the whole network of public green spaces across the city.

Every £1 spent on public green space equates to £27 in value for the public proving expenditure in green spaces provides exceptional value for money for Londoners.

Londoners avoid £950m a year in NHS health costs thanks to accessible public green space. Parks create opportunities for people to exercise, socialise, relax and enjoy being part of the community. In doing so, people improve their physical and mental health. This total cost is made up of £580m per year by being in better physical health and £370m from better mental health. The health benefits of London's public parks amount to 20% of their total economic value.

Public parks help the environment - providing temperature regulation and carbon storage. Green space in urban areas counter higher temperatures in summer months and natural and semi-natural parkland also provide global benefits as a store of carbon in soil and trees.

Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor for Environment and Energy, said: "London is one of the greenest cities in the world with much-loved green spaces that the Mayor is determined to protect. This new research proves just how important our parks and public spaces are, not only for our health, environment and quality of life, but also as essential infrastructure for the city. This is why the Mayor has committed to protecting the green belt, making London the world's first National Park City and increasing and maintaining our incredibly valuable green space."

This report highlights some places in London would benefit from more public green spaces. It also recognises that boroughs are facing significant government funding cuts, and parks funding can often be hit hard.

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