In the long list of inequalities this virus has exposed, few are so stark as access to outdoor space.
This can be seen at home, where wealth can buy you a substantial garden, while millions are locked down in cramped homes with no outdoor space.
But leave your front door and the situation goes from bad to worse. Take London for example, where 35% of the wealthiest areas are green space, compared to 25% of the most deprived. Then there’s the 2.6 million people in the UK with no publicly accessible green space within walking distance at all.
It’s no surprise, then, that more than half of the public notice a greater appreciation for local parks and nearby countryside during this pandemic. What’s more, almost two thirds want improving green space to be a higher priority after lockdown.
To do this while addressing inequality we need a new right to green space – ensuring that every person in the UK can access green space in less than ten minutes walk from home.
This should be backed up by a range of new measures for green space and nature – an abundance of new pocket parks, rewilding of public land, a national market garden city programme and new ways to protect wildlife-rich brownfield sites.
This virus has taught us the inherent public good of green spaces. Let’s use this lesson to address inequality, restore nature and strengthen our communities.