A needs assessment relating to the provision of natural greenspace in areas with low levels of physical activity
This study set out to establish the proximity, accessibility and naturalness of greenspace in areas of Kent where the population is characterised by low levels of physical activity. Subsequently, this assessment was used to prioritise areas for future action and investment, based on levels of population deprivation, size and need.
Throughout the report ‘accessibility to greenspace’ (including ‘access of greenspace’) refers to a site being accessible via some form of public right of way. However, this does not necessarily mean that the site is accessible to all sectors of society (e.g. individuals with a physical disability); accounting for the quality of the access route was beyond the scope of this project.
Greenspace is defined as ‘places where human control and activities are not intensive so that a feeling of naturalness is allowed to predominate’ (as described by Natural England). Greenspace includes ‘all open space of public value, including not just land, but also areas of water such as rivers, canals, lakes and reservoirs which offer important opportunities for sport and recreation and can also act as a visual amenity’. Physical activity is defined as ‘body movement that expends energy and raises the heart rate’
- Two-thirds (66%) of the Kent population do not have a greenspace of at least 2 ha (about two full sized football pitches) within 300 m (5 minutes walk) of home. This was the least well met of all the accessibility standards.
- Over a quarter of the Kent population (28%) do not have access to a greenspace of at least 20 ha (18½ football pitches) within 2 km (approximately 30 minutes walking) of home.
- Less than half (44%) of the Kent population do not meet the DDC accessibility standard for greenspace of at least 0.4 ha (about the size of half a full-sized football pitch) within 300 m of home in urban areas and 2 ha within 1 km in rural areas.
- In line with other studies we found that populations in Kent who are not active enough for good health are more likely to have higher levels of deprivation.
- We found that, in general, accessibility was no worse in areas of higher levels of deprivation, and that more deprived populations often had more access to greenspace.