24th January 2020

POLICY: Green Space Index shortlisted for industry award

Fields in Trust's innovative Green Space Index has been shortlisted for a national award by leading GIS software supplier, Esri UK.

The Green Space Index is our unique barometer of publicly accessible local park and green space provision. Launched last May, it is the first tool to provide a measure of such provision in Great Britain.

The Index's findings were welcomed at launch by both the Scottish and Welsh Governments as well as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, then Parks and Green Spaces Minister, Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP. It has also been showcased in a blog post by national mapping agency, Ordnance Survey, publishers of the Open Greenspace dataset upon which the Index is based.

This latest recognition of the important contribution of the Green Space Index has seen it shortlisted in the Analytical Insights category at Esri UK's annual Customer Success Awards. The awards are described as showcasing "the most pioneering projects, teams and individuals, championing transformation through innovative use of ArcGIS", Esri's leading software which is used by Fields in Trust as part of our evidence-led approach to protecting parks and green spaces.

Speaking about the recognition for the work behind the Green Space Index, Fields in Trust Policy Manager, Alison McCann, said: "We are thrilled to be shortlisted for this top industry award and it really is a culmination of the work we have undertaken over the last 18 months to better demonstrate impact through evidence and data. We are grateful for the support offered by Esri UK through their non-profit programme which is enabling us to take our innovation forward".

The Analytical Insights category at the awards celebrates projects which utilise the analytical capabilities of the ArcGIS package to unlock hidden facets of data. Fields in Trust is shortlisted in this category alongside Dwr Cymru Welsh Water and East West Rail and are the only charity to appear across the shortlists for any of the four award categories, which also include such organisations as Homes England, Police Service Northern Ireland, Glasgow City Council and the Marine Management Organisation.

"The recent Green Space Index, measuring public access and use of parks across the country, is an invaluable contribution to the sector's evidence base and will have a lasting legacy. The charity's vision for the nation's parks and green spaces is commendable and I continue to value the contribution to government's work arising from it."
Rt Hon. Rishi Sunak MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, formerly Parks and Green Spaces Minister

Rishi Sunak MP

Supplementing the findings of our 2018 Revaluing Parks and Green Spaces research, the Green Space Index measures publicly accessible local park and green space provision across the nations and regions of Great Britain across five key indicators. It finds that there are 2.6 million people in Britain without a local park or green space within a ten-minute walk of where they live. Whilst there is around 216,000 hectares of provision across Great Britain, only around 6% is legally protected in perpetuity.

Provision is not equally distributed either, with the amount of green space per person varying from a low of 20.98 sqm in London to a high of 45.86 sqm in Scotland. Four regions - London, the North East, the North West and Yorkshire and the Humber - fall short of a minimum standard of provision as measured by the GSI Score, which is based on our Guidance for Outdoor Sport and Play minimum benchmarks.

of total green space provision in Great Britain


of green space provision per person in Great Britain


not living within a ten-minute walk of a green space


of legally protected green space provision in Great Britain


Whilst the Green Space Index highlights the important need to ensure our nation's parks and green spaces are protected in perpetuity, it also shows the need to consider green space provision as part of effective planning.

This coming May will see the release of the second iteration of the Index. As well as being updated to reflect the latest Greenspace dataset from Ordnance Survey, it will also be expanded to include more analysis on factors affecting park and green space provision. Amid a backdrop of local authority budget cuts and ever-increasing demand for land for development, it is vitally important to revalue and to protect our nation's parks and green spaces by championing the benefits they bring to us all. Because once a park is lost, it is lost forever.

As well as viewing publicly accessible local park and green space provision across five indicators for each nation and region of Great Britain, you can also explore the Green Space Index results near you using a series of interactive maps. You can find out more about the Green Space Index in our set of Frequently Asked Questions, whilst our discussion on provision as part of last year's Summer of Parks includes a variety of resources to help you explore the topic of parks and green space provision further, including a discussion of the ten-minute walk measure, an in-depth look at provision in the London Borough of Islington and a staff blog reflecting on compiling the Index.

The winners of the Esri UK Customer Success Awards will be announced at the Esri UK Annual Conference at London's QEII Exhibition Centre on Tuesday 19th May.