New report on the state of our environment

Children need green spaces to reconnect with nature
Children need green spaces to reconnect with nature

The Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership (NEP) has published its first ever State of the Environment report.

The report assesses the status of the Bucks environment, taking stock of the county’s natural assets. These include habitats, the quality of our air and water, our energy and resource use, how much green space we have access to, and the relationship between the environment and economic prosperity.

The report assesses how we make use of the environment and the benefits it provides, so the NEP can track changes and focus efforts to improve it into the future.

Chairman of the NEP, Sir Henry Aubrey-Fletcher said: “Our report for the first time brings together information about the Buckinghamshire environment and the benefits it provides that we all rely on.

“It will help focus attention and effort where it’s needed – for example on improving the quality of our natural environment, including priority habitats, and on the quality of water in our rivers, where we found that only eight per cent are meeting the required ‘good’ status.

“The report also shows the importance of access to green space for the mental and physical health and wellbeing of our communities and how we must protect, improve and provide connected green space for wildlife and people as we face unprecedented growth in Buckinghamshire in the near future.”

Data on access to large-scale green space shows that Aylesbury Vale is the most deficient in the region. This affects health and wellbeing and productivity, with costs to business and the health services, the report says.

The NEP’s report follows the State of Nature 2016 report developed by 53 conservation organisations, which highlights the status of the environment at a national level.

The NEP’s report for Buckinghamshire, in line with the national report, recognises the need to better connect people with the environment to protect and improve it for future generations.

To read the State of the Environment report or a summary, see www.bucksmknep.co.uk/publications