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Evidence shows that that people value nature, and spending time in nature, including through volunteering with environmental organisations. There is also increased awareness about issues surrounding biodiversity loss in the UK.

In addition, a growing evidence base shows that spending time in nature and green spaces has a positive impact on both physical and mental health. For example, it has been associated with lower probabilities of cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, asthma hospitalisation [and] mental distress” among adults.

The Government’s focus on increasing access to nature and green spaces has primarily been on increasing walking routes and setting targets for proximity to nature.  It is also looking at ways of increasing permissive access to woodlands. It is reviewing how open access land, where there is a right to roam under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000,  is mapped but is not considering reviewing what land is designated as open access.

The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (Amendment) Bill A Private Members Bill introduced to the House of Commons by Caroline Lucas, aims to extend the right of public access to the countryside, including to woodlands, the Green Belt, waters and more grasslands.

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