Analysis of a survey undertaken by Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to understand people’s connection with nature as well as the their fears and aspirations for the natural environment after lockdown shows that people spent more time outdoors, explored new greenspaces and noticed more wildlife than ever before.
As well as highlighting the positive side of our shared lockdown experience, the results also underline people’s fears over unfettered development as the Government seeks to build its way out of the deepening recession.
Key findings included 92% of people noticing the reduction in traffic at the height of lockdown and 56% experiencing cleaner air. 62 % had spent more time outdoors during lockdown with 50% discovering a new greenspace.
The most popular places to experience the outdoors were private gardens, with 92% of participants having spent more time in theirs, followed by the wider countryside, parks and nature reserves.
An overwhelming majority believed that time spent outdoors had been a comfort during the challenging lockdown period and almost a third (33%) stated that their mental health had improved as a result of time spent outdoors.
Over 40% of people, especially younger respondents stated that they had seen more or different wildlife over the period.
In terms of fears, over three quarters of respondents consider pressure for new roads and housing to be a threat to nature alongside the impacts of climate changes.
The survey also contains some useful pointers for local authorities as they plan for the future such as the importance of investing in local parks and greenspaces – including incorporating wildlife rich greenspace into new housing developments. People are also keen to see wilder areas within parks and along roadsides and efforts to tackle pollution and climate change.
Speaking about the Life After Lockdown Survey Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Paul Wilkinson said: