Space for People. Targeting action for woodland access

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1 Space for Peope Targeting action for woodand access

2 Contents Summary 2 Section 1 Context 3 The Woodand Trust 3 The case for accessibe woodand 3 Section 2 Deveoping targets 6 Woods for Peope 6 The Woodand Access Standard 7 Deveopment of the targets 9 Resuts 10 Discussion 10 Section 3 Poicy impications 15 Creating new accessibe woodand 16 Increasing the accessibiity of existing woods 18 The way forward 20 Appendices 22 Appendix 1 Tabes showing provision of woodand access and targets for woodand creation at country, regiona and oca authority eve across the UK With partnership working we can fufi the vision of accessibe woodand for a WTPL/Nia Benvie Space for Peope

3 Foreword I was deighted to be asked to write the foreword to Space for Peope version 2, especiay so eary in my term as Chair of the Forestry Commission. I woud ike to take this opportunity to ceebrate the fact that over the ast five years, accessibe woodand has increased and to congratuate a those invoved in heping to create these opportunities, especiay the work of the Woodand Trust. We have come a ong way since we started this work, however we must not rest on our aures. This report usefuy sets out what we a need to do to aow more peope access to woodands cose to where they ive. Easiy accessibe, high-quaity woodands are crucia to more peope benefiting from the range of opportunities that trees, woods and forests can provide. The Forestry Commission has payed its part, suppying data and using the Woods for Peope dataset and the Space for Peope anaysis to target grant aid to create or enhance woodand, much coser to where peope ive. Woodand creation and supporting increased access in existing woodands is a specific priority in each of the country s forestry strategies, a pubished since the origina work in I ook forward to even more accessibe woodand over the years and urge you to continue to pay a part in this vision. A vision which wi aow chidren to have natura pay experiences; oder peope to have opportunities for quiet contempation within easy reach of their doorsteps; and for peope who have never visited their oca wood, the confidence to expore, for the first time, the woodand around the corner. Pam Warhurst Chair of the Forestry Commission Forestry Commission Space for Peope 1

4 Summary Woods and trees are good for us. Many of us fee this intuitivey but increasingy there is research that backs it up, showing that access to woodand can reay benefit physica and menta heath and improve our quaity of ife. Yet despite nationa commitments to increasing peope s access to woodand, in many parts of the UK significant numbers of peope do not have nearby woodand they can visit. Overa ony 15.6 per cent of peope in the UK have access to a wood at east 2 hectares in size a short wak from where they ive. The Woodand Trust wants this to change so that everyone can access woodand within easy reach of their home. To assess what is needed, the Trust began coecting data on accessibe woodand in 2002, and pubished the origina version of Space for Peope in 2004, setting out its anaysis of access to woodand in the UK and its vision for increasing the amount of accessibe new native woodand cose to where peope ive. Since then, we have continued to coect data on accessibe woodand on an annua basis. This revised version of Space for Peope highights changes that have been made in the ast five years, and sets out our new vision. Whie the proportion of peope in the UK with access to woodand has increased since 2004, there is sti a rea deficit which we beieve must be tacked by creating new woods for communities to use and opening up woods that currenty do not offer pubic access. We see this as integra to our wider vision of a UK rich in native woods and trees, providing andscapes that can continue to meet the needs of both widife and peope in a sustainabe way. As we as being paces to exercise and pay, to reax and refresh the spirit, woods are a key part of the green infrastructure or panned network of green spaces and other features that deivers improvements to peope s surroundings and quaity of ife. Trees and woods store carbon, generate oxygen, stabiise the soi, and hep to improve water quaity. They can hep adaptation to cimate change by providing a cooing effect in urban areas, and food aeviation in those paces increasingy affected by this probem. Last but not east, trees and woods, especiay native woods, are host to a vast array of widife. The UK is one of the east wooded countries in Europe with around 12 per cent woodand cover, compared with an average of 44 per cent in Europe. Ony 4 per cent of the UK s and area is covered with native woodand. The Woodand Trust s aspiration is to see the area of native woodand doubed in the onger term. But we want to see that woodand created in areas where it wi bring maximum benefits to peope and widife. Space for Peope provides essentia information to hep us achieve that aim. We need to create new woodand where it brings maximum benefits to peope and widife WTPL/Ewing Reeson 2 Space for Peope

5 Section 1 Context The Woodand Trust The Woodand Trust is the UK s argest woodand conservation charity. Our vision is a UK rich in native woods and trees enjoyed and vaued by everyone, and we set out to achieve this through three broad aims: To enabe the creation of more native woods and paces rich in trees To protect native woods, trees and their widife for the future To inspire everyone to enjoy and vaue woods and trees Inspiring peope to appreciate woodand, and to understand how important woods and trees are, can underpin the achievement of our other aims. Fundamenta to this is ensuring peope have the opportunity to experience woodand for themseves at first hand. We therefore beieve there shoud be a wood with open access cose to everyone s home. The case for accessibe woodand Woodand cose to where peope ive can form an integra part of Green Infrastructure (GI), the strategicay panned and deivered network of high quaity green spaces and other environmenta features that deiver environmenta and socia benefits, incuding paces for outdoor reaxation and pay, space for widife, cimate change adaptation, environmenta education, and improved heath and we-being 1. Whie some of these coud be deivered through appropriatey-sited woodand without open access, creating woods that are accessibe and wecoming offers the opportunity to scae up the benefits hugey. Heath and we being The countryside can be seen as a great outpatient department whose therapeutic vaue is yet to be fuy reaised. Dr Wiiam Bird, strategic heath adviser for Natura Engand 1 Natura Engand What is Green Infrastructure? panningtransportocagov/greeninfrastructure/defaut.aspx There is a substantia and growing body of evidence that access to woodand and other greenspace makes peope fee better. Getting out into natura spaces, especiay when combined with moderate exercise, can have a beneficia effect on physica WTPL/Steven Kind Woods near where peope ive bring a mutitude of benefits Space for Peope 3

6 Section 1 - Context heath, menta heath and we-being, and can aso hep socia cohesion. Physica inactivity is a major preventabe heath risk, which affects about 60 per cent of the popuation. In addition, it is estimated that ack of physica activity costs the economy in Engand aone 8.2 biion a year 2. But there is aso evidence that contact with the natura environment enhances the positive heath benefits of exercise; attractive natura spaces increase motivation to continue outdoor activity in the ong term 3. Promotion of physica activity cose to where peope ive, with an emphasis on waking, is more ikey to resut in sustained activity. Overa, physica activity eves increase where participants have convenient and cose contact to green space 4. Menta i heath affects one in six peope and costs the NHS 12.5 biion and the economy 23.1 biion a year 5. Studies show that exposure to nature aids recovery from daiy stresses 6. For chidren, contact with nature has been shown to aid concentration and sef-discipine, and may even be hepfu in deaing with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) 7. Studies indicate that eary experience of nature is important, particuary before the age of 12. The freedom of unstructured pay in nature creates for chidren a source of independence and inner strength that can be drawn upon during stressfu situations for the rest of their ife 8 and natura environments hep deveop a types of pay, essentia for deveopment. Indeed Louv 9 suggests that chidren need to experience natura environments to prevent nature deficit disorder. Chidren who spend time in woodand with friends or aone without parenta supervision are the most ikey to visit and enjoy woodand as an adut, and are more ikey as aduts to describe woodand as magica 10. A green space offers opportunities for heath and we-being but woodand has specia quaities. 2 Bird W (2004) Natura Fit: Can green space and biodiversity increase eves of physica activity? RSPB. 3 Tabbush P and O Brien L (2003) Heath and we-being: trees, woodands and natura spaces. Forestry Commission, Edinburgh. 4 Bird W (2004) Natura Fit: Can green space and biodiversity increase eves of physica activity? RSPB. 5 Sainsbury Centre for Menta Heath (2003) The economic and socia costs of menta iness. Poicy paper 3. paper_3.pdf 6 Urich R S, Simons R T, Losito B D, Fiorito E, Mies M A and Zeson M (1991) Stress recovery during exposure to natura and urban environments. Journa of Environmenta Psychoogy 11, Faber Tayor A, Kuo F, and Suivan W (2001) Coping with ADD. The surprising connection to green pay setting. Environment and Behaviour. pp Wes NM and Lekies KS (2006) Nature and the ife course: Pathways from aduthood Nature Experiences to adut Environmentaism. Chidren, youth and environments 16 (1) 9 Louv (2005) Last Chid in the Woods: Saving our chidren from Nature Deficit Disorder. Agonquin Books. 10 Wes NM and Lekies KS (2006) Nature and the ife course: Pathways from aduthood Nature Experiences to adut Environmentaism. Chidren, youth and environments 16 (1) Peope are more active if they have green space near their homes WTPL/Brian Adrich 4 Space for Peope

7 Woods and trees can screen out noise and absorb arge numbers of peope without seeming overcrowded. They often hod specia meaning for peope, and their compex structure offers more opportunities for imaginative pay than more open green spaces. Ecosystem services Woods and trees can improve the quaity of our ives in many other ways. They make a substantia contribution to ecosystem services, the processes by which the environment produces resources we need such as cean air, water, food and materias. Woods and trees have a measurabe impact in reducing air poution 11, absorbing pouting gases, intercepting particuates, and reeasing oxygen. Creating new native woodand can improve water quaity by reducing sediment, nitrate, phosphate and pesticide concentrations through ower inputs and decreased run-off. In urban areas, where trees are used as part of sustainabe urban drainage systems, they can reduce surface run-off and retain poutants on brownfied sites 12. Cimate change adaptation Woods and trees store carbon, mitigating the effects of cimate change, but they can aso hep us adapt to the effects of cimate change. They ower oca air temperatures, through transpiration of water and shading, thus owering ozone eves. This is particuary important in towns and cities, where temperatures tend to be higher in London, for exampe, the temperature differentia between the city centre and surrounding suburbs may be as much as 10 C on summer days, the urban heat isand effect. Woodand and trees can aso pay an important roe in mitigating the effects of fooding and in contro of surface water. Woodand can reduce sma foods at a oca scae since they improve soi infitration of water, and may mitigate arge foods on foodpains by absorbing and deaying food fows 13. Biodiversity Native woodand is particuary important for widife. For exampe, broadeaved woodand contains twice as many species of conservation concern as any other habitat 14. The compex structure of woodand provides a mutitude of niches for different species, and whie trees take years to reach maturity, a new native wood provides a range of interesting transitiona and temporary habitats as it deveops. Creating new native woodand and treescapes is essentia to hep widife adapt to cimate change, by creating a andscape that is both more resiient and more connected. Accessibe woodand cose to communities offers peope the opportunity to see widife-rich habitats at cose hand. WTPL/Steven Kind Creating new native woods gives peope an opportunity to see widife at cose quarters 11 Crabtree C J (2009) The vaue of benefits arising from trees and woods in the UK. CJC Consuting, a report commissioned for the Woodand Trust. 12 Cader I R, Harrison J, Nisbet T R, Smithers R J (2008) Woodand actions for biodiversity and their roe in water management. Woodand Trust. 13 Cader I R, Harrison J, Nisbet T R, Smithers R J (2008) Woodand actions for biodiversity and their roe in water management. Woodand Trust. 14 Biodiversity: the UK Steering Group Report (1995) Voume 1: Meeting the Rio chaenge HMSO Space for Peope 5

8 Section 2 Deveoping targets In 2004, the Woodand Trust pubished the origina version of Space for Peope, setting out its anaysis of access to woodand in the UK and its vision for increasing the area of accessibe woodand cose to where peope ive. Since then, the Trust has continued to coect data on accessibe woodand in the UK each year. The anaysis carried out in 2004 has been repeated using data from 2009, resuting in updated figures for the area of accessibe woodand, an indication of changes over the intervening five years, and refreshed targets for increasing the amount of new native woodand needed cose to where peope ive. The anaysis required: the Woods for Peope project, coecting data on accessibe woodand annuay deveopment of a Woodand Access Standard the minimum standard for access to woodand that we fet shoud be met in a areas Woods for Peope Woods for Peope began in 2002 with the aim of producing as comprehensive an inventory of accessibe woodand across the UK as possibe, and is an ongoing programme deveoped by the Woodand Trust and Forestry Commission Engand, supported by Forestry Commission Waes and Scotand, and the Northern Ireand Environment Agency. Definitions The foowing definitions are used: Woodand is defined as and under stands of trees with, or the potentia to achieve, tree crown cover of more than 20 per cent. This is taken from the Forestry Commission s Nationa Inventory of Woodand and Trees 15, (now the Nationa Forest Inventory). Accessibe woodand is defined as any site that is permissivey accessibe to the genera pubic for recreationa purposes. This incudes sites with unrestricted open access and restricted, but permissive, access (eg fee-payabe, fixed-hours access). The definition does not incude woods served ony by pubic rights of way. Data coected by the Countryside Agency 16 in Engand and Countryside Counci for Waes 17 showed that wakers often encountered probems with access on rights of way. Probems of access quaity can aso occur on permissive routes through woodand, but it seemed fair to assume that owners and managers woud be more ikey to address them where they have invited peope to wak. 15 Forestry Commission The Nationa Inventory of Woodand and Trees 54pg9t 16 The Countryside Agency (2001) Rights of way condition survey Research notes CRN Countryside Counci for Waes (2003) Waes Rights of Way Condition Survey WTPL/Nichoas Spuring 6 Space for Peope

9 WTPL/Deborah Morris In Engand, Waes and Northern Ireand there is no assumed right of access, other than statutory pubic rights of way. Open access and defined under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (i.e. mountain, moor, heathand, downand and registered common and) ensures a right of access to arger areas in Engand and Waes, but does not incude woodand uness vountariy dedicated under Section 16 of the Act. In Scotand, there is a right of responsibe access to amost a and and inand water, as defined in the Land Reform (Scotand) Act 18. However, just as pubic rights of way do not ensure quaity access, a right of responsibe access in Scotand does not mean access wi be encouraged to a woodand or that it is accessibe. For this reason, this research incudes ony woodand in Scotand where access is specificay encouraged. Data coection Reevant organisations were asked to give detais of woodand with pubic access that they owned, managed or knew about. Pubic and vountary bodies with arge woodand areas, or those with responsibiity for particuar areas were targeted. Woodand supported by Forestry Commission or Forest Service Northern Ireand grant aid aimed at making improvements to access was aso incuded; this accounts for a arge proportion of the accessibe woodand recorded. 18 Land Reform (Scotand) Act (2003) egisation/scotand/acts2003/asp_ _en_1 The Woodand Access Standard The Woodand Trust s Woodand Access Standard aspires That no person shoud ive more than 500m from at east one area of accessibe woodand of no ess than 2ha in size That there shoud aso be at east one area of accessibe woodand of no ess than 20ha within 4km (8km round trip) of peope s homes Nationa standards for accessibe greenspace enabe assessment of the resource against need, and inform spatia panning. Without them it is not possibe to propery assess whether a sufficient resource of accessibe greenspace exists. Such standards have been used for some time; one of the eariest, the Nationa Paying Fieds Association s (now Fieds in Trust) Six Acre Standard 19 for paying space advocated six acres (2.4ha) per 1000 peope comprising 1.6ha for outdoor sport and 0.8ha for chidren s pay. Natura Engand and Countryside Counci for Waes have deveoped standards for accessibe natura greenspace. 19 Fieds in Trust. The new six-acre standard. Natura Engand and the Countryside Counci for Waes Accessibe Natura Greenspace Standard (ANGSt) recommend: No person shoud ive more than 300m from their nearest area of natura greenspace of at east 2ha in size at east one accessibe 20ha site within 2km of home one accessibe 100ha site within 5km of home one accessibe 500ha site within 10km of home provision of at east 1ha of Loca Nature Reserve per 1,000 peope Whie a range of different types of accessibe greenspace is vauabe, the Woodand Trust beieves woods are of particuar vaue. In urban areas in particuar, their visua prominence can create a baance between the buit and natura environment. They cost itte to maintain and can absorb arge numbers of visitors, and since they are such rich natura habitats, they offer visitors an inspiring experience of contact with nature. We therefore beieve that in terms of provision of natura greenspace, woods shoud be seen as the optima habitat and that a separate standard for woodand, which shoud compement the Accessibe Natura Greenspace Standard (ANGSt), is needed. Space for Peope 7

10 Section 2 Deveoping targets Deveopment of the Woodand Access Standard took into account studies showing there were more frequent visits to woods when they were cose to peope s homes: 59 per cent of woodand visits entai a round-trip distance of under 8km 20. Beyond this, the frequency of visits drops markedy. It has been shown 21 that peope wish to visit sites of at east 2ha; in a wood this size they fet a sense of escape from the outside word. The preferred 20 Forestry Commission (2002) Forestry Statistics. 21 The Countryside Agency et a (2003) Great Britian Day Visits survey dayvisits02-03.asp size was between 11 and 40ha. Day visits to woodand are most ikey to be made on foot and wakabe distance is approximatey 500m or 6-8 minutes waking time. The Woodand Access Standard therefore aspires that peope shoud have access to woodand of an adequate size within easy reach of where they ive woodand of at east 2ha within 500m. Given the optima 8km round trip distance, there are further opportunities to provide arger woods around communities within a distance that peope can easiy trave 20ha of woodand within 4km. Ideay, both these standards woud be met. However, The Woodand Access Standard in urban areas In urban areas it may not be possibe to meet the Woodand Access Standard if there is insufficient and avaiabe for new panting. It might aso be appropriate to deveop an additiona standard that takes account of smaer pockets of woodand existing and potentia in these areas. A piot study ooking at three urban authorities in north-west Engand showed that reducing the minimum area of woodand required to meet the Woodand Access Standard in these areas to 0.75ha did increase the percentage of peope with access to woodand. Severa smaer areas of accessibe woodand might be the next best thing to provision of woods of 2ha or greater where the atter is impossibe. Unitary Hectares Potentia % of authority/ accessibe popuation with County popuation access to a wood within 500m 2ha wood 0.75ha wood Knowsey St. Heens Warrington Space for Peope

11 WTPL/John Tucker where it is not possibe to meet the 500m threshod, for exampe in urban areas where there is a ack of avaiabe and, then the 4km threshod shoud be the minimum provided. The Standard is intended to be used as an aspirationa benchmark and a basis for discussion and decisions on provision of accessibe woodand, and some fexibiity is needed in its interpretation. Map showing 500m buffers around woodand It is equay appicabe to urban and rura areas, but in remote areas, where reative distances are greater, common sense shoud be appied in trying to provide accessibe woodand for everyone. In urban areas, it may not be physicay possibe to meet the standard if there is insufficient and avaiabe for new panting. In addition, it may not be appropriate or necessary to push for the Woodand Access Standard in andscapes that aready have a high degree of accessibe natura greenspace, neither shoud new woodand be sited on existing semi-natura open ground habitat, ecoogicay vauabe brownfied and or archaeoogica sites. The Standard is not intended to be appied prescriptivey. Loca assessment is aso needed to ensure adequate accessibe woodand is provided depending on actua eves of use. Deveopment of the targets The Woods for Peope data was anaysed against the Woodand Access Standard to produce figures for the deficit in accessibe woodand, and targets for the area of additiona accessibe woodand required. The accessibe woodand data was captured in a Geographica Information System (GIS) as digita woodand boundaries. To assess the proportion of the popuation abe to access these woods within the aspirations of the Woodand Access Standard, 500m and 4km buffers were extended around the aappropriatey-sized woods. The proportion of the popuation faing within these buffers was then cacuated using Census 2001 data In earier versions of Woods for Peope, some woodand data was received ony as grid reference points. Modeed woodand boundaries were created for these sites for the first version of Space for Peope, but since then actua woodand boundaries have been captured digitay, so the updated version gives a more accurate picture. The same process was used to assess the proportion of the popuation that coud have access to woodand if appropriatey ocated existing woods (shown on the Nationa Inventory of Woodand and Trees now the Nationa Forest Inventory - in Engand, Scotand and Waes, and derived from Ordnance Survey Northern Ireand vector data in Northern Ireand) were opened for pubic access. This eft areas devoid of woodand, where peope have no access or no potentia for access. In these areas woodand creation is required. Optimum ocation for new woods in these areas was modeed based on popuation density and therefore designed to achieve high return rates, typicay around 90 per cent of peope having access. Resuts are therefore a function of current deficiency of woodand and the distribution and density of the popuation. Space for Peope 9

12 Section 2 Deveoping targets The woodand creation targets resuting from this anaysis shoud be seen as minimum requirements because: It is unikey a existing woods wi be opened for pubic access It is doubtfu optima ocation woud aways be achieved in practice Loca decision makers need to take account of the eve of use and size of popuation to decide whether additiona new sites shoud suppement provision The Woodand Access Standard states 2ha and 20ha as the minimum size of site required in each distance threshod. The data was aso overaid with datasets indicating the 10 per cent most deprived areas, based on the Index of Mutipe Deprivation, to assess whether peope in these areas had adequate access to woodand and how woodand might be used to improve their quaity of ife. Resuts Tabe 1 shows the area of woodand that is accessibe in the UK, and as a percentage of tota woodand cover. The figures in Tabes 2-4 give a broad assessment of woodand access in the UK. Tabe 2 refects how many peope currenty have access to woodand (using the Woodand Access Standard as the measure) in each country. Tabe 3 shows how many coud have access if inaccessibe woods were opened up to the pubic, and Tabe 4 gives the resuts of anaysis to show how many peope require new woods panted in their area to meet the deficit (assuming a inaccessibe woods coud be made accessibe), and the area of new woodand that woud be required. Each tabe gives figures from the anaysis of the atest data coected in 2009, with figures from 2004 for comparison, thus showing the change over a five-year period. A breakdown of the figures by region (for Engand) and by oca authority area for a countries, is given in Appendix 1. Discussion Ony 15.6 per cent of peope in the UK have access to a wood of at east 2ha within 500m easy waking distance of their home. The figures for woods of 20ha within 4km are better 64.8 per cent in the UK but there is sti a substantia deficit. The pattern shown in 2009 is simiar to that for 2004, with peope in Scotand and Waes having higher eves of access to woodand than Engand, and Northern Ireand having the owest, even though a arger proportion of Northern Ireand s Tabe 1 Area of accessibe woodand in the UK, by country, and by Engish region Area of accessibe woodand (2009 data) as percentage of the tota area of woodand Country/Government Area (ha) Tota woodand Area % of woodand Office region area accessibe area that is woodand accessibe Country UK Engand Waes Scotand Northern Ireand Region East Midands Eastern London North East North West South East South West West Midands Yorkshire and Humber Tabe 2 - Percentage of popuation with access to woodand as defined by the Woodand Access Standard Accessibe woods Country % popuation with access % popuation with access to 2ha+wood within 500m to 20ha+ wood within 4km Engand Waes Scotand Northern Ireand UK Space for Peope

13 Tabe 3 - Percentage of popuation who woud have access to woodand if existing woods were opened up to the pubic Inaccessibe woods Country % extra popuation with access % extra popuation with access to 2ha+wood within 500m to 20ha+ wood within 4km if existing woods opened if existing woods opened Engand Waes Scotand Northern Ireand UK woodand is accessibe than that of any of the other countries. This party refects the fact that Northern Ireand has the east woodand cover in the UK at ony 6.5 per cent, foowed by Engand at 8.7 per cent of and area. Overa, the percentage of peope in the UK with access to woodand has increased over the five-year period from 2004 to Despite a sight drop in Northern Ireand, there are increases in a other countries, some substantia. The highest increase at a country eve is in Scotand, where the percentage of the popuation having access to a 2ha wood within 500m has increased from 15.3 per cent to 27.8 per cent, and the percentage having access to a 20ha wood within 4km has increased from 54.4 per cent to 83.0 per cent. The increase in woodand recorded as accessibe is party baanced by an opposing downward shift in the amount of inaccessibe woodand, and in the area of new woodand required to ensure that everyone has access to woodand within the context of the Woodand Access Standard. Tabe 4 - Percentage popuation requiring new woodand, and minimum area of new woodand required, to meet the Woodand Access Standard New panting Country % popuation % popuation Minimum Minimum requiring new requiring new area of new area of new woodand for woodand for woodand woodand access to access to required for required for 2ha+ wood 20ha+ wood 2ha+ wood 20ha+ woods within 500m within 4km within 500m (ha) within 4 km (ha) Engand Waes Scotand Northern Ireand UK Woods in and Around Towns - Scotand In Scotand, the Woods in and Around Towns initiative (WIAT) was aunched to bring negected woodand into active management, create new woods and work with peope to hep them use their oca woodand. Phase 1 invested 30m between 2005 and Under Phase II ( ) a further 24m is avaiabe to improve the quaity of Scotand's urban woodands. Since 2005 WIAT has heped to create 378ha of new woodand near where peope ive, as we as bringing 9000ha of urban woodand into active management and creating or upgrading neary 180km of paths. WIAT focuses on woods within 1km of settements of over 2000 peope. Centra Scotand Forest Trust Access improved with the hep of WIAT grants and, inset, the same path before Space for Peope 11

14 Section 2 Deveoping targets Changes in the amount of woodand access recorded coud be due to a number of possibe factors: database, eading to a decrease in the area of accessibe woodand Receipt of new records through the Woods for Peope project which might revea that woods previousy thought inaccessibe do, in fact, have permissive access Uptake of forestry grant schemes eading to an increase in the area of woodand recorded as accessibe Expiry of forestry grant schemes (after five years) after which it cannot be assumed woods remain accessibe, so they are removed from the Landowners opening up private woodand to pubic access, with or without grant aid Creation of new woodand From the data suppied, it is difficut to assess in detai a the reasons for the changes in the data in the five years from 2004 to 2009, and it woud be wrong to concude the figures show a simpe increase in the amount of accessibe woodand in the UK. The figures for Northern Ireand show the amount of accessibe woodand can go down as Green oasis in an urban area Monkstown Wood, in Newtownabbey, Northern Ireand, is amost 16 hectares (39 acres) of woodand and other habitats created by the Woodand Trust on and provided by the Northern Ireand Housing Executive and Newtownabbey Borough Counci. Thousands of young native trees, panted in the year 2000, aready tower over the taest of wakers and compement the mature hedgerows. This green oasis in a busy urban area provides a peacefu retreat for oca peope, whie aso forming part of a onger waking route, the Newtownabbey Way. During the second haf of 2009, more than 30,000 peope visited the site, which was designated a Loca Nature Reserve in WTPL/Fiona Granger New accessibe woodand has been created through targeted grant aid 12 Space for Peope

15 WTPL/Christopher Beech we as up, due to a reduction in uptake of grant schemes and a the above factors need to be taken into account when studying the changes. The data for Scotand suggests that the increase there can be party attributed to an increased uptake of grants in the centra bet area, which means an increase in recorded accessibe woodand in an area of high popuation. The decrease in need for new woodand does, however, show new woods have been panted cose to communities through targeted grant aid, partnerships and individua initiatives. The targets for creation of new accessibe woodand show an overa reduction but this is reativey sma, and there are sti chaenging targets to be met. A study of woodand access in the 10 per cent most deprived areas in each country (and in each region in Engand) showed that these are not necessariy the areas with the east woodand access. In Engand and Scotand, there is itte difference between the percentage of peope with access to woodand, as defined by the Woodand Access Standard, in the 10 per cent most deprived areas as compared with the nationa average. In Waes, there is more woodand access in these areas. Northern Ireand does show a arger shortfa in the amount of woodand access avaiabe for those in the most deprived areas. Whie these resuts may mask a compex range of factors, it does suggest that maximising the benefits Tabe 5 Woodand access in 10% most deprived areas of each country (nationa average figures in brackets) % popuation with % popuation with % extra popuation with % extra popuation with % popuation requiring new % popuation requiring new access to a 2ha+wood access to a 20ha+ wood access to 2ha+ wood within access to 20ha+ wood within woodand for access to woodand for access to within 500m within 4km 500m if existing woods open 4km if existing woods open a 2ha+ wood within 500m a 20ha+ wood within 4km Engand 13.9 (14.5) 62.0 (63.0) 12.4 (23.2) 13.5 (20.6) 73.7 (62.3) 24.5 (16.4) Waes 22.7 (17.4) 85.0 (76.7) 29.4 (42.5) 13.5 (20.9) 47.9 (40.1) 1.5 (2.4) Scotand 27.4 (27.8) 87.9 (83.0) 22.3 (29.2) 11.3 (14.2) 50.2 (43.1) 0.8 (2.7) Northern Ireand 4.4 (7.2) 21.7 (40.2) 11.2 (21.6) 35.3 (23.2) 84.3 (71.2) 43 (36.6) Tabe 6 Woodand Access in 10% most deprived areas by Engish region % popuation with % popuation with % extra popuation with % extra popuation with % popuation requiring new % popuation requiring new access to a 2ha+wood access to a 20ha+ wood access to 2ha+ wood within access to 20ha+ wood within woodand for access to woodand for access to within 500m within 4km 500m if existing woods open 4km if existing woods open a 2ha+ wood within 500m a 20ha+ wood within 4km East Midands 8.3 (9.4) 51.3 (50.0) 13.9 (19.8) 19.2 (25.7) 77.8 (70.8) 29.4 (24.3) Eastern 10.7 (11.6) 29 (51.5) 16.1 (25.3) 41.8 (32.1) 73.2 (63.1) 29.2 (16.4) London 2.3 (9.1) 47.6 (67.9) 6.2 (11.6) 0.9 (5.37) 91.5 (79.3) 51.5 (26.7) North East 13.6 (18.0) 60.7 (63.6) 13.9 (24.9) 22.1 (22.7) 72.6 (57.1) 17.3 (13.7) North West 23.9 (22.8) 76.1 (67.5) 12.4 (18.3) 9.6 (16.4) 63.6 (59.0) 14.3 (16.1) South East 11.0 (15.5) 50.1 (65.6) 22.8 (35.4) 21.9 (22.5) 66.3 (49.1) 28.1 (11.9) South West 7.6 (12.8) 76.6 (67.4) 21.7 (30.8) 17.1 (25.9) 70.8 (56.3) 6.3 (6.8) West Midands 11.8 (15.4) 59.3 (63.8) 12.1 (18.9) 12.3 (20.5) 76.1 (65.7) 28.4 (15.7) Yorkshire and Humberside 14.0 (14.5) 62.3 (63.8) 12.7 (23.9) 19.4 (21.8) 73.3 (60.5) 18.3 (14.3) Space for Peope 13

16 Section 2 Deveoping targets Transformation of a viage The itte viage of Fordham, Essex, is amost surrounded by a new nature reserve that covers around 200 hectares with arge scae new native woodand creation. As we a providing free open access for the peope of Fordham, this Woodand Trust site attracts visitors from arger centres of popuation such as Cochester, nearby. Woodand creation on such a scae can profoundy impact on a community, transforming the andscape around peope s homes from one of intensive agricutura production to a patchwork of thriving, widife-rich habitats. of woodand access in deprived areas means more than simpy creating more woodand, or opening more woods up to pubic access. Projects which encourage peope to make the most of the woodand they aready have, by making woods wecoming and giving peope the information and inspiration they need to visit them, coud aso be important in bringing improvements to quaity of ife in these areas, as demonstrated by the Cydcoed project in Waes. The Woodand Trust is aso aunching Visitwoods 22, an onine resource that wi inform peope about woods they can access, based on the Woods for Peope data, and provide a range of inspirationa resources to encourage them to discover the benefits of woodand for themseves. 22 Projects that inspire peope to visit woods can improve quaity of ife WTPL/Peter Nash Woods for those most in need WTPL/Nick Cobbing Between , Cydcoed heped more than 160 community groups across some of the poorest parts of Waes improve their surroundings and quaity of ife. The 18 miion project used woods to provide new jobs and opportunities, empower communities, promote heathy recreation, education and conservation as we as creating 227 hectares of new woodand and improving more than 37,500 hectares of existing woodand. Managed by Forestry Commission Waes, it was funded by the EU (Objective One) and the Wesh Assemby Government. An evauation of the project found that the 85 per cent of peope questioned fet the quaity of ife for their community had improved by being invoved in Cydcoed, and more than 90 per cent fet the woods to be an important part of creating a sense of we being through offering a reaxing and stress free area. 14 Space for Peope

17 Section 3 Poicy impications There is aready substantia poicy support for an increase in accessibe woodand cose to where peope ive. Country forestry strategies recognise the vaue of access to woodand and set out aspirations that more peope shoud access woods for the benefits they provide. In Engand 23, this incudes a vision that woods within easy reach are used for educationa, socia and community purposes, and an aim to make it easier for peope to use and enjoy woodand. Regiona strategies (Regiona Forestry Frameworks) aso promote woodand access, many adopting the Woodand Trust s Woodand Access Standard. In Waes 24, the forestry strategy aspires that more peope ead heathier ives because they take opportunities to enjoy woodand. It commits to encouraging deveopment and promotion of woodand access. The Scottish Forestry Strategy 25 commits to making access to woodand easier for a sectors of society, for exampe by targeting woodand creation and access improvements in areas where heath and community need is greatest and current provision is weak. It adopts the Woodand Access Standard. The strategy for forestry in Northern Ireand 28 commits to reaising the potentia of forests to be used for recreation. Grants for woodand management and creation incude incentives for provision of pubic access. For exampe, since 2005 the Forestry Commission in Engand has given 1.3m towards 728ha of new community woodand, has supported pubic access in 14,000ha of woodand per annum through woodand management grants, and has spent 1.3m on access improvements. The avaiabiity of permissive access to private woodand has increased steadiy since the 1980s, and the argest section of data on accessibe woodand in the Woods for Peope dataset comes from grant scheme information provided by Forestry Commission and Forest Service Northern Ireand. However, there is sti substantia scope to increase woodand access further across the UK through creation of new accessibe woodand, and by opening up existing woods to the pubic. The poicy chaenge is therefore one of constructing incentives and practica mechanisms to buid upon the strategic intent expressed in the country forestry strategies and to acceerate the generay positive trends identified above. 23 Defra (2007) A Strategy for Engand s Woods, Trees and Forests. forestry.pdf 24 Wesh Assemby Government (2009) Woodands for Waes woodandsforwaesstrategyen.pdf 25 Scottish Executive (2006) Scottish Forestry Strategy. SFS2006fcfc101.pdf 26 Forest Service NI (2006) Northern Ireand Forestry: A strategy for sustainabiity and growth. Department of Agricuture and Rura Deveopment NI. WTPL/Brian Adrich Space for Peope 15

18 Section 3 Poicy impications Creating new accessibe woodand Whie opening existing woods to the pubic is important, creation of new woodand offers the opportunity to deiver many other benefits as we as woodand access. Despite a recent fa in the rate of woodand creation, pubic poicy is now beginning to swing towards arger scae increases in woodand cover in the UK than have been seen in recent years. The rationae for this extends beyond the need for more woodand access. The chaenge wi be to overcome the barriers to woodand creation, and then to ensure it is targeted sufficienty towards areas where peope ive in order to meet woodand access needs. The rate of woodand creation has faen overa in the UK in the ast five years, with a tota of 5,900ha panted in compared with 11,900ha in Tabe 7 Woodand creation figures for the UK by country (Forestry Commission) Year (ending 31 March) New panting (thousands of hectares) Engand Waes Scotand Northern UK Ireand However, the vaue of expanding the UK s woodand cover is gaining recognition because of the many benefits that woods and trees provide. During 2009, the Government aunched its UK Low Carbon Transition pan, which stated that if 10,000 hectares of new woodand were panted annuay for the next 15 years, the resuting new trees woud ock away 50 miion tonnes of carbon by 2050 making a very rea contribution to the country's carbon reduction targets. An independent report produced for the Forestry Commission on the roe of UK forests in combating cimate change aso highighted the contribution woodand coud make to abatement of greenhouse gases emissions 27 and recommended that panting of 23,000ha of new woodand annuay for the next 40 years woud reduce carbon emissions by 10 per cent by Transation of these recommendations into poicy woud offer the opportunity for a step change in the rate of woodand creation. Targeting this new woodand near to where peope ive, and in areas where there is currenty a deficit in accessibe woodand, woud enabe mutipe issues to be addressed. 27 Read D J, Freer-Smith P H, Morison J I L, Haney N, West C C and Snowdon P (eds). (2009) Combating cimate change a roe for UK forests. An assessment of the potentia of the UK s trees and woodands to mitigate and adapt to cimate change. The synthesis report. The Stationery Office, Edinburgh. 16 Space for nature

19 Green Infrastructure Centra Scotand The Centra Scotand Green Network was officiay aunched by the Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham in September Its vision is that by 2050, the environment of Centra Scotand wi have been transformed through the creation of a high quaity green network enhancing peope s ives, supporting the economy, aowing nature to fourish and addressing cimate change. Specific goas incude every home to be within 300m of an accessibe greenspace, a doubing of woodand cover, and that the green network is used by everyone to improve heath and we-being. Keith Geddes, Chair of the Centra Scotand Green Network Partnership Board, says: " Working in partnership with estabished bodies and oca community groups, our goa is to make the centra bet of Scotand a thriving and vibrant pace where the environment heps communities and business fourish." In Scotand, the Scottish Forestry Strategy 28 aready sets the scene for arge-scae expansion of woodand, reaffirming the Government s expectation that an increase in woodand cover in Scotand from the current 17 per cent to around 25 per cent in the second haf of the century woud be needed to deiver the vision. This woud invove a sustained annua panting programme of around 10,000 15,000ha, and woud enabe Scotand to meet the Woodand Access Standard. The new woodand shoud incude at east 35 per cent native species, thus matching the Woodand Trust s aspirations for doubing native woodand cover. Northern Ireand s forestry strategy 29, incudes a commitment to doube woodand cover, and in Engand, the North West Regiona Forestry Framework is eading the way with a manifesto that incudes an aspiration to doube woodand cover in the region. At the same time, the concept of Green Infrastructure has now gained common currency. This highights the importance of the natura environment in and use panning, in particuar the ife support functions provided by an interconnected network of natura ecosystems eg cean water and air, heathy sois, food attenuation, sustainabe drainage, shade and sheter, and recreation. Green Infrastructure panning is increasingy recognised as a vauabe approach for spatia panning and is now seen in nationa, regiona and oca panning and poicy documents and strategies. The concept is equay vaid in rura and urban areas. Natura Engand recommends that a oca authorities produce a Green Infrastructure Strategy. The Woodand Trust beieves that native woodand, accessibe to the pubic, shoud be considered in a GI strategies. Green Infrastructure shoud be designed and managed as a mutifunctiona resource capabe of deivering those ecoogica services and quaity of ife benefits required by the communities it serves and needed to underpin sustainabiity. Green Infrastructure incudes estabished green spaces and new sites. Natura Engand guidance on Green Infrastructure 28 Scottish Executive (2006) Scottish Forestry Strategy 6fcfc101.pdf 29 Forest Service NI (2006) Northern Ireand Forestry: A strategy for sustainabiity and growth. Department of Agricuture and Rura Deveopment NI. Space for nature 17

20 Section 3 Poicy impications WTPL/Eric Porter Even with poitica wi, there are practica barriers to achieving the scae of woodand creation required to meet aspirations under the Woodand Access Standard, particuary in terms of and avaiabiity. Increased emphasis on food security and the need for the UK to be more sef-sufficient in food production means that it wi not be appropriate to create arge areas of new woodand on prime agricutura and. Pressure for further deveopment continues to be an issue in and around centres of popuation and this affects both the avaiabiity and price of and, and the wiingness of andowners to consider panting woodand. Every opportunity shoud therefore be taken to expand woodand through the panning and deveopment contro process, for exampe through poicy toos such as habitat banking and stricter use of compensation packages for infrastructure projects. Panting on brownfied or recaimed sites is an option but needs carefu preparation and management and estabishment is generay more difficut and expensive than panting on agricutura and. The success of the Nationa Forest, in the Engish Midands, shows what can be done with sustained targeting of resources towards an ambitious woodand creation target. 30 Regeneris Consuting (2005) Economic and Socia Benefits of Countryside Access Routes in the North East. Increasing the accessibiity of existing woods Core paths and rights of way In Engand and Waes, the Countryside and Rights of Way Act (2000) required oca authorities to undertake rights of way improvement pans by 2005, but did not specificay require them to invest in the improvements themseves. It is ikey that as a resut many more oca authorities wi have digita maps of their rights of way, which means that technicay it woud now be possibe to incude woods served by rights of way in the accessibe woodand dataset, perhaps as a subset. However, an assessment first needs to be made of the quaity of provision, and whether this has improved sufficienty for these woods to be incuded. Peope are more ikey to exercise if there is good quaity provision, as evidenced by research that found a 4 per cent increase in adut activity in the North-East owing to improvements in pubic rights of way 30. Currenty, however, there is not sufficient data to assess the condition of rights of way. In Engand, for exampe, no surveys are being undertaken at a nationa eve, and rights of way do not appear in the ist of 198 Nationa Indicators by which the performance of oca authorities is measured. There is aso a danger that if oca authority budgets are squeezed, rights of way wi not be maintained adequatey in the future to enabe 18 Space for Peope

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