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Fostering closer connections with nature to help improve health is a key part of a new five-year strategy unveiled by Natural England.

At the cornerstone of ambitions until 2025 is the belief that spending time in nature is essential for physical and mental health and should be accessible to everyone, regardless of abilities.

Among the commitments made is a partnership between Natural England and the National Academy for Social Prescribing to test how well nature-based programmes can help people with mild to moderate mental and physical health conditions.

Tackling the lack of access to nature that some ‘environmentally-deprived' communities face is another priority which will be addressed by the creation of a ‘Nature Recovery Network’.

The ability to make a difference is within our grasp

Building Partnerships for Nature's Recovery authors

Natural England also commits to gathering more evidence about the barriers to people enjoying nature, as well as how improving access will boost quality of life, meet health targets and reduce costs to the health service.

Finally, Natural England wants to influence planning decisions by councils by embedding green infrastructure standards into their strategies, with special focus on areas that are deprived and affected by Covid-19.

The time for action is now, says Natural England’s Tony Juniper and Marian Spain.

Writing in the strategy's foreword they say: ‘The ability to make a difference is within our grasp. The public’s growing reconnection with nature for health and wellbeing, our recognition of the urgency of the climate crisis and the government’s commitment to a green recovery all create a unique opportunity.’

You can find out more about the strategy, ‘Building Partnerships for Nature’s Recovery’, here.

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