Management of green spaces during Covid-19

The Covid-19 outbreak has had fundamental changes on the way we go about our daily lives. Green spaces have an important part to play in our physical health and mental wellbeing- now and as part of the recovery - but, we must all adapt how we use and manage these spaces to keep everyone in our communities safe.

We are aware that green space owners and managers may be uncertain on how to act in the best interests of those who use and enjoy their spaces. Current UK Government advice is that people should stay at home as much as possible, but can go out for physical activity, such as a walk, cycle or run. Whilst parts of spaces such as play areas and outdoor gyms are taped off or otherwise closed to prevent public use, there is no directive to close parks and green spaces themselves. In fact, green spaces are important places to ensure everyone can exercise, get fresh air and continue enjoying the natural world around us at a time when we are all spending more time indoors.

 

Should I close my parks and green spaces?

Fields in Trust are aware that some landowners have taken the decision to close all or part of their parks and green spaces or otherwise limit access. We would not recommend full closure of green spaces unless absolutely necessary and where other measures were or would be ineffective. The final decision over any closure to a space is for the green space managers locally and could depend on whether the layout of the space allows for suitable social distancing for users as well as considerations over whether closure of one green space will lead to higher concentrations of people using other nearby spaces, inhibiting social distancing.

In general, the UK Government guidelines advise that people should:

  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • Work from home if you can.
  • Limit contact with other people.
  • Keep your distance if you go out (two metres apart where possible).
  • Take hygiene precautions when outside and wash your hands as soon as you return home.
  • Do not leave home if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.

 

This guidance from the UK Government is correct and current as of noon on Wednesday 13th May. Guidance from devolved administrations may vary - you should refer to your appropriate national guidance which can be can be found:

 

To aid people in maintaining social distancing whilst enjoying your local park or green space you could place tape or chalk marks on paths at two-metre intervals.

 

Support for sports clubs

If you are a sports club or have groups using your green space who may be adversely affected financially by the Covid-19 outbreak, support and advice is available to assist the sport and recreation sector through the current crisis.

 

Field Change Requests

We recognise that, with the current national lockdown, landowners of protected spaces may have to take urgent decisions about the use of these spaces which may prevent them going through our normal Field Change Request process. As a result, Fields in Trust have agreed that where changes are implemented in compliance with Government guidance, our formal consent does not need to be sought, but we should still be kept informed. We have set out the types of proposals which will not require consent whilst the country is in lockdown along with our advice to landowners.

 

Contacting our team

The Fields in Trust team are all now working remotely in line with Government guidelines. For general enquiries please email info@fieldsintrust.org and a member of the team will get back to you, or if you know who you'd like to contact please use their direct email or phone number.