To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether his Department is taking steps to improve access to nature reserves for people in densely populated urban communities.
The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan sets out its ambition to connect more people from all backgrounds with the natural environment for their health and well-being and we recognise the role that parks and green spaces, including in our urban areas, play in the nation’s wellbeing and are committed to improving access and safeguarding our green spaces.
We are developing the Levelling Up Parks Fund which will create parks and green spaces on urban land which has become unused, undeveloped or neglected.
As set out in the England Trees Action Plan we will continue to support community orchards and forests which sit alongside other funds such as the Urban Tree Challenge Fund, which will make our towns and cities greener and help give more people nature on their doorstep.
Natural England's England-wide map of green infrastructure launched in December 2021 as part of the emerging Green Infrastructure Framework will help local areas identify priorities for creation and enhancement, including to address inequalities in access to greenspace. The full Framework to be launched later this year will include a green infrastructure design guide with advice on designing to promote access and to maximise the benefits that access provides. The provision of more and better quality green infrastructure will make towns and cities attractive places to live and work, promote engagement with nature, enable local social interaction and help to develop strong community networks through participation and shared achievements.
This Government is firmly committed to protecting and enhancing the Green Belt. National planning policy includes strong protections to safeguard this.