THE RSPB is rallying West Midlands residents to demand more nature and green space ahead of the West Midlands mayoral elections in May.
The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the country’s largest nature conservation charity, is now calling on local voters to ask candidates to put the environment and nature at the heart of their manifestos – for the benefit of our health, wellbeing and the economy.
Last month, the charity’s Recovering Together 2 report further made the case for investing in nature, setting out the benefits of nature and green space for health and equality, climate and biodiversity, and jobs and the economy.
The UK’s parks and green spaces provide people with an estimated £34.2billion of health and wellbeing benefits and save the NHS around £111million each year.
Tens of thousands of new jobs created on top of the 750,000 plus nature already supports.
In Birmingham, the annual net benefit to society from parks and green space is nearly £600million, which includes £192million in health benefits.
In spring 2020, at the height of the Covid-19 lockdown, RSPB-commissioned YouGov research found that 83 per cent of people in the region agreed that increasing the amount of accessible nature-rich green space will help to improve general health, wellbeing and happiness.
Inequality in how people access green space is also an ongoing challenge, with the poorest households in the UK 40 per cent less likely to live close to any publicly accessible nature-rich greenspace compared to the richest 10 per cent of households.
The Mayor plays a significant role in how nature can improve the urban spaces, health, wellbeing, economy and recovery from the Covid-19 crisis for nearly three million West Midlands residents.
As part of the charity’s Revive Our World campaign, the RSPB are calling on residents to stand-up for their communities and demand a greener, fairer and more prosperous future for their region.
Emma Marsh, RSPB England director, said: “England’s city and metro-mayors have a crucial role to play as the elected leaders of some of our biggest cities and metropolitan areas.
“With elections coming up in May for many of them, we are asking all sitting and would-be mayors to prioritise measures that benefit nature.
“We want to see more green space, more accessible green space, more nature-rich green space and a commitment to urgently tackle the climate and ecological emergencies at a local level.”
Visit https://www.rspb.org.uk/ for more information.