According To Sibley ... Green space key to children's well-being

Five years ago, a UNICEF report on child well-being in rich countries ranked the UK as the worst place for children to grow up in the developed world.

Image: HW
Image: HW

The report interested me at the time because it was weak on the environmental factors that affect children's well-being. My work at the Conservation Volunteers has shown me just how important access to green space is for children's development and it seemed strange that this should be ignored.

The good news is that an update report, just published, shows significant improvement in the UK's performance. We are now ranked 16th out of 29 countries surveyed, indicating that our children now have greater life satisfaction and better life chances. Encouragingly, the report now includes environmental measures. But they seem an odd batch, including housing, air pollution and, bizarrely, homicide rates.

The report looks separately at health, including obesity and physical exercise. Another section considers educational achievement. The authors recognise the need to think about children's opportunities for safe, unsupervised play. So, given all that we now know about how parks and green spaces can contribute to these factors, why does UNICEF not count access to good-quality local green space as an important indicator for child well-being?

The Make Parks a Priority campaign hits the nail on the head by making the point that good-quality green space is not an optional extra but a basic human need. The Conservation Volunteers has shown over many decades that people - including children - will act to conserve and improve their local parks and gardens.

It is time for policymakers to acknowledge that if we want children's physical and mental well-being to improve, access to green space is a must - and to build consideration of local green-space quality into policies on child health and development.

Miles Sibley, Director of Strategy, The Conservation Volunteers

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

Mowers special report - Tractor-mounted units

Mowers special report - Tractor-mounted units

Are cylinder or rotary mowers the best bet to maximise efficiency, performance and productivity? Sally Drury reports.

Mowers special report - Ever-improving ride-ons

Mowers special report - Ever-improving ride-ons

Manufacturers are offering grounds professionals better models to tackle the most challenging mowing conditions, writes Sally Drury.

Mowers special report -  Remote-control and walk-behind mowers

Mowers special report - Remote-control and walk-behind mowers

Topography and the environment are key factors for mowing awkward areas but the latest machines are making the job easier, says Sally Drury.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Horticulture Week Custodian Awards

Products & Kit Resources