A new survey on the state of local authority parks and greenspace services finds 85% of those surveyed are expecting budgets cuts of at least 5%, with almost 30% expecting cuts of over 15%. This, despite the survey finding close to two-thirds of those surveyed are experiencing a growing number of visitors to their parks.
The survey, conducted annually by the Association for Public Service Excellence (APSE) and now in its thirteenth year, found that 83% of those surveyed said budget cuts have led to reduced levels of maintenance and increases in unmaintained land.
The survey also found that almost three-quarters of respondents either agreed or agreed strongly that ‘the squeeze on public sector resources is affecting parks and green spaces disproportionately to other service areas’.
Other key findings
Of the local authorities surveyed:
Speaking about the findings, Mo Baines, APSE Chief Executive, said:
“As our roads become congested and financial constraints in the home mean people are more in need of free access to pleasant and accessible greenspaces, the demand from the public for access to greenspaces continues to grow louder.
“However, APSE’s survey makes clear there is a real belief amongst parks professionals that service quality may start to be seriously affected because of the ongoing pressures on budgets, changes to maintenance frequencies and a need for investment, particularly as visitor numbers are remaining high and, in many cases, increasing.
“What the survey also shows is that local authorities are successfully introducing new and innovative ways to sustainably manage parks. Whether this be through income generation, partnerships or alternative forms of funding, the most recent being the opportunities which may arise from Biodiversity Net Gain. It is hoped that central governments and other stakeholders will, in recognition of this innovation and best practice, provide the necessary support for local authorities and their parks managers in developing a sustainable future for the UK’s parks and the multitude of benefits they bring.”
A full analysis of APSE’s State of the Market Survey on Parks Services 2023 can be viewed by clicking on the button below
The survey findings were the topic of discussion at APSE’s Parks Seminar on 15 March 2023 at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester. The presentations from the event are freely available from the APSE website here.
NOTES TO EDITOR