The data confirmed what many suspected: Nature and green spaces were a great comfort during the lockdown.
More than 40% of people say nature, wildlife and visiting local green spaces have been even more important to their well-being since the coronavirus restrictions began.
The percentages have remained stable throughout the pandemic, according to the government’s natural environment adviser Natural England.
And the trend could persist.
Numerous surveys from organizations such as Natural England have shown that people believe time spent in nature promotes their mental and physical well-being during lockdowns.
In a review of surveys and data on the role of nature and green spaces over the past year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said changes in personal behavior and corporate attitudes could signify that the UK, post-lockdown, will value and interact. with nature on a much larger scale than before the pandemic.
“What we don’t know yet is whether the changes brought about by the lockdown will be a temporary trend or a new way of life,” he said.
Green spaces have helped bring people together at different times of the pandemic, studies have shown, playing an important role in allowing people to meet family and friends.
The percentage of people increasing their time spent connecting with loved ones outside increased during the lockdown, from 11% in May to 22% in July, the ONS said. This increase during the summer months persisted until January when it fell to 19%.
Lockdown also highlighted the societal inequalities that exist in access to private green spaces, such as gardens.
About one in 10 households in Britain does not have access to a private or shared garden. This figure rises to one in five households in London.
At the same time, a study published in the journal Cities found a link between daily gardening and well-being.
A survey of more than 6,000 people found that people who garden every day have higher well-being scores (6.6% higher) and lower stress levels (4.2% lower) than people who don’t garden at all.
Dr Lauriane Chalmin-Pui, study researcher and wellness specialist at RHS, said: “When gardening, our brains are pleasantly distracted by the nature around us. It distracts our attention from ourselves and our stress, thereby restoring our spirits and reducing negative feelings. . “
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