A Natural England survey has revealed that more people than ever before are concerned about threats to the environment.
Natural England, the advisory body to the UK government on England’s natural environment, conducted the ‘Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment’ (MENE) survey; which found that 90% of English adults said they were worried about the future of the natural environment – a record high since the annual survey began in 2009 – while 62% indicated specific concerns over biodiversity loss. 87% of respondents to the Natural England survey said they had actively undertaken ‘pro-environmental’ behaviours or activities.
Visits by English residents to natural spaces have risen gradually over the last decade, increasing from 2.9 billion visits in the 2009-2010 survey to just under 4 billion in 2018 to 2019; with the majority of excursions into the natural environment taking place close to people’s homes. The Natural England survey found substantial demographic gaps, however, with children from the most deprived regions of England up to 20% less likely to spend time outside regularly; while white children were 25% more likely to spend time outside at least once a week than children from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds.
Marian Spain, Interim Chief Executive of Natural England, said: “The overwhelming evidence published today makes clear the priority the public give to investing in nature’s recovery. Wildlife and green spaces are hugely important for people, providing them with places to exercise, socialise, learn and experience the wonder of the natural world. Natural England is committed to restoring nature by working with partners and the public to help deliver [the] government’s 25 year Environment Plan. This research also underlines how important it is that we create new opportunities for people to connect with nature wherever they live and whatever their age. We want everyone to enjoy the many benefits nature brings and also to take part in caring for their environment.”