Children playing in grass. Visitors to Rye Meads RSPB reserve

Urban Environment Development

Over the next generation, it is likely that at least a million new homes and associated development will be built in England.

A healthy natural environment

We believe that where communities need regeneration, natural green space and an investment in the environment can lead to more sustainable development and better urban quality of life.

We've produced a publication which outlines why enhancing the environment in these developments is a healthy, wealthy and wise choice.

Natural Fit and Natural Thinking also make the case for promoting our natural environment by looking at the health benefits from activity related to nature and wildlife.

A healthy natural environment offers many benefits – such as creating socially-inclusive places, reducing crime, encouraging businesses to invest in an area and reducing National Health Service costs, as well as helping wildlife.

Combating inactivity should be a health priority

Natural Fit estimates physical inactivity costs the UK economy £8.2bn every year.

We can break this down as:

  • £5.4bn - the cost of absence from work
  • £1.7bn - NHS costs
  • £1bn - lost through early mortality. 

This is a staggering loss indicative of the size of the social benefits which are being missed out on by not being more involved with nature.

Research suggests that sociable walking in green spaces is the best way to get people moving and significantly improve health problems like obesity.

Group of children on a Summer School, pond dipping at RSPB Conwy Nature Reserve.

Every child should experience out-of-classroom learning

As part of the social benefits package delivered by nature and wildlife, education also plays a significant role.

Educational visits to nature reserves can help improve children’s confidence and learning skills.

Incorporating the natural environment into education delivers future benefits, as it is essential to ensuring that the next generations continue to care for and champion biodiversity. More information can be found at the education section of our website.

There is no substitute for getting out of the classroom and learning about nature and culture first hand. 55,000 children across the UK enjoy out of classroom learning with the RSPB.

More investment in education is needed so every school student has the opportunity to experience 'out-of-classroom' learning in the natural environment.