Recently, the Government’s 25 year plan for the environment was published. Some commentators were surprised that people’s health was mentioned, let alone an entire chapter dedicated to it. As the Prime Minister stated in her foreword: “Connecting more people with the environment will promote greater well-being.” The plan includes compelling evidence that our physical health and mental wellbeing improve when we live in and take action for wildlife. It also highlights the importance of access to nature in urban settings, as reinforced by the Prime Minister in her launch speech, the Government is at last seeing how much the environment means to people, not least young people.
The Wildlife Trusts welcome a plan that links people’s health and happiness with nature’s recovery. Wildlife Trusts deliver a wide range of activities that contribute to a healthier society. Every day, up and down the country you find a Wildlife Trust working alongside their local communities, to create accessible, natural places where people exercise, children play wild and those who are lonely meet up. This approach is evidence-based and is focussed on increasing time spent in the outdoors in natural places. As part of a balanced approach to helping people feel well, nature-based approaches like social prescribing have a huge amount to offer.