Alliance reacts to DEFRA’s 25 Year Environment Plan: Government recognises social value of being active in natural environment

Outdoor Rec- DEFRA ()

Getting more people experiencing the physical and mental wellbeing benefits of the natural environment a key priority for 25 Year Environment Plan.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) yesterday launched a new strategy for the environment, A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment.

The Plan identifies a number of key areas of action, including ‘connecting people with the environment to improve health and wellbeing’. The intent being to open up the mental and physical health benefits of the natural world to ‘people from the widest possible range of ages and backgrounds.’

Commenting on the strategy, Emma Boggis, CEO of the Sport and Recreation Alliance said:

“It’s very promising to see sport and recreation recognised as a feature of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. We welcome DEFRA’s acknowledgement of the contribution the sector can make to the natural environment - from economic advantages to improving physical and mental wellbeing.

“The importance of giving everyone the opportunity to be active in the natural environment is something that we have been lobbying Government on for some time. In our 2015 and 2017 general election manifestos, we called on Government to create a strategy that protects and prioritises our natural assets and public rights of way. We are pleased that this has now been recognised in the Plan, with more investment in green infrastructure.

“We also welcome the references to joined-up, cross-government working included in the strategy. With one of the key areas of the Plan focused on making sure that more people experience the benefits of being active outdoors, we hope that this principle will shape future policy decisions that impact the environment.

“It is good to see Government restating their existing commitments made in Sporting Future, reiterating their support for programmes that encourage physical activity. This strategy presents our outdoor recreation members with a huge opportunity, and it’s important that we recognise this potential.

“Both Government and the sector are now responsible for making sure that our views are heard and taken forward. Only by ensuring that the widest possible range of people are reached will the true contribution of sport and recreation in the natural environment be recognised.

“As ever having a strategy is a good first step – but turning strategy into action is what matters and we look forward to working with Government and our members to help do that and deliver on our vision of an active nation through sport and recreation.”