In total over the first two years of fieldwork almost 95,000 interviews have been completed for the survey (94,613) and key details have been collected for over 100,000 visits to the natural environment (106,478).This large base allows us to undertake detailed analysis of the changes in participation over time, to analyse the data amongst smaller geographic areas and amongst niche population groups (e.g. demographic groups or activity participants).
The key measurement from this survey is the volume of visits to the natural environment. Based on the survey results, we have produced estimates of around 2.5 billion such visits in the 12 month period from March 2010 to February 2011.Averaged out across the adult population, this equates to around 60 visits per adult in the 12 months, an average of 1.2 visits per week.By comparison, an estimated 2.9 billion visits were taken in the previous 12 month period from March 2009 to February 2010. The decrease of 13 percent between the first and second year of surveying is statistically significant.This equates to a decrease in the average number of visits taken per year, per adult from 69 to 60 visits.
Another key measure of engagement relates to the proportion of the population taking visits to the natural environment. Over the 12 month period from March 2010 to February 2011 an average of 39 percent of the adult population had taken one or more visit during the 7 days prior to the survey interview. This proportion was significantly lower than that recorded in the previous 12 month period when an average of 43 percent of the population visited the natural environment.Demographic variationsThe chart illustrates variations in this measure across different demographic groups. In both years the highest proportions were recorded amongst those aged 25 to 64, those in the most affluent AB socio-economic groups and residents of the most affluent areas. However the lowest levels were recorded amongst the oldest age groups and least affluent members of the population.Decreases are apparent across most of the population groups but most notable amongst younger people and the least affluent socio-economic groups. Geographic variationsLevels of participation in visits to the natural environment also vary geographically. The highest levels were recorded in the South West of England (52 percent) while the lowest levels were recorded in London (28 percent).
During the March 2010 to February 2011 period, just over half of visits were taken in the countryside (or around 1.3 billion visits), 37 [ercentwere taken in green spaces in towns and cities (or around 0.9 billion visits) while the remaining 11 percent were taken to either resorts or rural locations on the coast (around 0.3 billion visits).Comparing these volumes with those recorded in the previous year, while the overall volume of visits taken has decreased by 13 percent, it is notable that the decrease is much smaller for visits to the countryside (-5%) but larger for visits to green spaces in towns and cities (-20%).
Understanding the different levels of change in volumes of visits taken between the two years can help us to understand what is causing the overall decrease.As the map illustrates, the greatest volume decreases took place in London, the South East and East of England while volumes stayed the same or even increased in the South West, Yorkshire and North East.Also the volumes of visits taken to certain types of place actually increased including farmland, woodland and mountain and moorland areas and the volume of visits taken by the most affluent socio-economic groups, the ABs, also increased.However above average decreases were recorded for visits taken to parks and other urban green spaces; for visits involving certain activities including eating and drinking out, road cycling and horse riding; and amongst the youngest and oldest age groups, the least affluent and unemployed and the BME population.
This chart shows the difference in the volumes of visits month-by-month for countryside and green spaces in towns and cities. For 2009-10 the green bars on the left represent countryside, and the grey bars represent green spaces in towns and cities on the right. The red line equals the figures for 2010-11.
As mentioned the average adult in England took 60 visits to the natural environment in the 12 month period, an average of 1.2 visits per weekHowever, the chart highlights that when people are asked about participation over the previous 12 months, there was considerable variation across the population with 1 in 10 participating in such visits every day and, at the other end of the spectrum, a similar proportion who claim not to have taken any such visits in the 12 months’ period.We have classified the population into 3 segments – just over half being frequent participants who visit the natural environment at least once a week, just under 4 in 10 who do so infrequently – no more than once or twice a month and the non-visitors that we have already referred to.These proportions are all similar to those recorded in the first year of surveying.
It is useful to profile the members of each of these groups. This chart illustrates age and socio-economic profiles.Notably, those people who are frequent visitors (visiting the natural environment at least weekly) are more likely than others to be aged between 25 and 64, to be in the more affluent ABC socio-economic groups and, not shown on the chart, to have a white ethnicity.On the other hand, those who typically never visit the natural environment are more likely than those who do take visits to be aged 65 and over, to be in the least affluent DE socio-economic groups and to live in more deprived areas, to have a long terms illness or disability or to be a member of the black or minority ethnic community (24 percent are non-visitors compared to just 9 percent of those with white ethnicity).These results are all similar to those recorded in the first year of the survey.
Further analysis of the profile of these groups illustrates a relationship between frequency of visits to the natural environment and overall levels of physical activity.As the chart shows around half (52 percent) of those people who visit the natural environment at least once a week take part in 30 minutes or more of physical activity on 3 or more days per week compared to 34 percent of infrequent visitors and 21 percent of non visitors.
The results can also be analysed according to where people visit.As the map on the left illustrates we can analyse the findings in terms of regions as destinations for visits, with the greater decrease in the South East and East apparent.The increasing sample size also allows for more detailed geographic analysis such as on the chart on the right which illustrates the volumes of visits taken by county with the large squares indicating where the greatest volumes of visits were taken. The potential for analysis at this level will increase as the survey sample continues to increase.These results illustrate that where visits are taken very much reflects where people live, with many visits taken close to home but the availability of places to visit is also relevant with certain areas such as the South West more likely than others to draw visits from other areas.
This chart further illustrates how analysis can be undertaken at a more local level with each pie chart representing the mix of types of place visited in each of England’s counties. The distribution varies with more orange and yellow apparent, in the southern coastal counties and in the North East and Merseyside area while the grey share is much more apparent, particularly in London where the vast majority of engagement is to green spaces in an urban environment.
In 40% of visits the main destination was within on mile of the respondent’s home while the majority of visits were within 5 miles (82 percent). Some variations in this pattern included a greater proportion of visits to the coast involving longer journeys while visits to green spaces were more likely to be very close to home (49 percent). Reflecting this distribution most visits were taken entirely on foot (63 percent) while 30 percent were taken by car and just 3 percent were by public transport. All of these results are similar to those recorded in the first year of the survey.
This chart illustrates the estimate volumes of visits to different types of green spaces.Parks in towns and cities continued to be the most visited type of place with over 550 million visits over the March 2010 to February 2011 period. Other most visited places included paths, cycleways and bridleways, woodland and forests, farmland and other open spaces in the countryside.The significant numbers of visits taken even to the places lower in the chart should be noted, for example an estimate of over 60 million visits to mountain, hill and moorland areas.
This chart shows how the volumes of visits to different types of place has changed between the first and second years of the survey. While the volumes of visits to farmland, mountain and moorland and woodland have increased, volumes have stayed the same or decreased for other types of place. Most notably open spaces in towns and cities including parks.
This chart illustrates the estimate volumes of visits involving different types of activity.Walking with a dog continues to be the most frequently undertaken activity, accounting for 1.3 million visits or around half of the total.Other most frequently undertaken activities include other walking (660m or 26 percent), playing with children (212m or 8 percent) and eating and drinking out (142m or 6 percent).It is notable that even the activities undertaken in a lower percentage of all visits still represent several million visits – for example mountain biking was undertaken in an estimated 26 million visits while fishing was undertaken in 15 million visits. Also each of these activities now has a large survey sample size which would allow us to drill into the data to find out more about particular activity groups.
This chart shows how the volumes of visits involving different types of activities has decreased between the first and second years of the survey. While the overall average decrease is minus 13 percent, larger decreases were recorded for certain activities such as eating and drinking out which is one of the activities most often undertaken yet has declined by around a fifth.
A greater understanding is obtained by asking survey respondents why they took part in visits to the natural environment.Reflecting the activities undertaken, around half of visits included dog exercising as a motivation but it is notable that significant proportions included other reasons including health and exercise (38 percent of visits), relaxing and unwinding (26% of visits) and enjoying fresh air and pleasant weather (24% of visits).It is notable that motivations vary between population groups, as people grow older motivations shift from an emphasis of spending time with friends to spending time with family and then, in older age groups relaxing, unwinding and physical health benefits become more important.By gender, men are more likely than women to be motivated by health and exercise benefits while women are more likely to take visits to exercise dogs, spend time with their family or entertain their children.There are socio-economic variations too with those in the more affluent, ABC1 groups more likely to take visits for health and exercise or to unwind while for most C2DEs dog exercise was the motivation.This profile is very similar to that recorded in the first year of the survey.
The potential positive outcomes of visits to the natural environment were also recorded with respondents asked how much a series of statements reflected their experiences.The dark green bar shows the proportions agreeing strongly – around half agreed strongly that they enjoyed their visits while around a third agreed with the statements regarding feeling calm and relaxed, refreshed and revitalised and that they took time to appreciate their surroundings.However just a quarter agreed strongly that they ‘felt close to nature’ and 10% ‘learned’ something about the natural world during their visit.In general women were more likely to agree that they received these positive benefits as were those people who took visits most often.These results are similar to those recorded in the first year of the survey.
Still considering the proportions agreeing strongly with the various positive outcomes, this chart illustrates how visits to coast (shown in yellow) are most likely to provide the most positive outcomes while those taken urban green spaces are generally less rewarding.
To further understand the population’s attitudes to the natural environment they were asked to state how much they agreed with this series of statements. Focusing on the dark green bar which represents the proportions agreeing strongly, around half agreed strongly that having open green spaces close to home was important to them but only a third agreed strongly that they were concerned about damage to the natural environment.These results have remained the same as in the first year of the survey.
Mention that the spatial Report is due for publication mid-November and will be available on the NE website.
The link can also be found by searching on ‘Monitor of engagement with the natural environment’ in Google.
Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment - Results of 2010-2011 survey
Monitor of Engagement with the Natural EnvironmentResults of the 2010 – 2011 survey
MENE – scope MENE captures information on all visits to the natural environment, including visits to local informal green space which were under recorded by previous surveys. It provides more accurate estimates of the volume of visits to the natural environment and changes over time, because the survey is continuous rather than being a one-off snap shot in time. Data is collected at a range of different spatial scales (including small areas) and amongst different socioeconomic groups. The survey collects origin and destination data for a selection of visits. 80 per cent of visits where the destination is recorded were allocated a grid reference and we were able to record visitors addresses in almost 100 per cent of cases. It is also important to understand why people don’t visit, so the survey collected this data too. The survey collects information on attitudes towards the natural environment.
Survey method In-home face to face interviews Weekly interviews on TNS –RI omnibus survey Representative of the English adult population Years 1 & 2 - March 2009 to February 2011Interviews – Year 1 48,514 , Year 2 46,099Main visit details – Year 1 58,653 visits , Year 2 47,825 visitsFull visit details – Year 1 20,374 visits , Year 2 17,389 visits Topics included in the survey Volume of visits to the natural environment Transport used on visits Places visited Reasons for taking visits Activities undertaken on visits Expenditure during visits Duration of visits Other forms of engagement Distance travelled on visits Barriers to participation
Annual volume of visitsMarch 2010 to February 2011 2.5 billion visits to Average of 60 About 1.2 visits the natural visits per adult per week environment 13 per cent fewer visits than between March 2009 and February 2010. A statistically significant decrease. Year 1 - 2.9 billion Year 2 - 2.5 billion
Participation in the last 7 days 39% of the population had taken 1 or more visits to the natural environment in the 7 days prior to being interviewed. This is a decrease from 43% in Year 1. Age 16-24 43 Took visits in last 7 days (%) 36 25-44 46 43 45-64 46 43 65+ 34 31Long term illness or disability None 46 41 33 2009/10 Any 30 2010/11Socio-economic status AB 53 52 C1 46 41 C2 42 38 DE 34 28Index of Multiple Deprivation Top 10% 54 49 Mid 11-89% 44 40 Bottom 10% 30 27 Took visits in last 7 days (%)
Volume of visits taken per month (millions) March 2009 to February 2011 A seasonal pattern correlated to daylight hours but a general300m downward trend. 283 273 270 257 253 254 Visits to the natural environment 242 228 232 220 216 227 213150m 205 206 206 218 217 200 199 188 178 180 168 0m
Where?Around half of visits are to the countryside Other coastline 0.11 bn. visits -17% Seaside resort/ town 4% 0.17 bn. visits 7% 53% Countryside 37% Green space in a town or city 1.3 bn. visits 0.92 bn. visits -5% -20%
Volume of visits takenChanges between Year 1 and Year 2 INCREASES Farmland Woodland Mountain, hill, moorland AB socio-economic groups Parks and other urban green ABOVE AVERAGE spaces DECREASES Eating and drinking out, road cycling, horse riding Aged 16-24, 65+ DE socio-economic groups, unemployed BME population
Changes between Year 1 and Year 2 – green spaceand countryside visits Visits to the countryside up almost every month on 2009 Visits to green spaces in towns and cities down every month on 2009
Levels of engagement 22% 21% 20% 16% 11% 9% Every day Several times Once a week Once or twice Less often Never a week a month Frequent Infrequent Non visitors visitors visitors 53% 37% 9% or or 22 million or 16 million 4 million adults adults adults
Age and socio-economic profile by frequencyof visits Frequent visitors (%) Infrequent visitors (%) Non-visitors (%) 16 20 35 65+ 32 45-64 More likely to be 33 non-visitors AGE 25 25-44 16-24 Aged 65+(35%)More likely to be 36 Retired (37%) 34 27frequent visitors DE group (43%)Aged 25-64 (68%) 16 Living in areas in 13 13ABC1 groups (57%) bottom 10% ofWhite ethnicity (91%) Index of Multiple 21 14 Deprivation (19%) 27 24 AB Any long term illness of SOCIO- 28 C1 disability (36%) 30 C2 ECONOMIC 19 DE Black or Minority Ethnic GROUP 21 community (24%) 20 43 22 30 • Frequent visitor – at least once a week (53% of population) • Infrequent visitor – twice a month or less often (37% of population) • Non-participants – not visited in the last 12 months (9% of population)
Levels of physical activity by frequency of visitsFrequent visitors (%) Infrequent visitors (%) Non-visitors (%) Number of days 48 undertake 30 mins+ of physical activity 66 0 to 2 days 79 3 or more days There is a relationship between visits to the natural environment and levels of physical activity. 52 34 21 Frequent Infrequent Non-participants• Frequent visitor – at least once a week (53% of population)• Infrequent visitor – twice a month or less often (37% of population)• Non-participants – not visited in the last 12 months (9% of population)
Volumes of visits by region and county Influences on volume of visits Size of population Availability of accessible natural environment Visit estimates can now be made at a county Greatest decreases in London, the South East level and these will become more robust as and East of England. the sample sizes increase.
Types of place visited by countySignificant geographical variations Town or city Seaside resort or town Other seaside coastline Countryside A clear variation in the types of place visited by county reflecting the large proportion of visits to local places.
Distances travelled Most visits are close to home and taken on foot 40 63% of visits 30% of visits 3% of visits are taken on are taken by are taken by foot car public 26 transport 16 6 5 3 1 1 1 1Less than 1 mile1 or 2 miles 3 to 5 miles 6 to 10 miles11 to 20 miles to 40 miles to 60 miles to 80 miles to 100 miles 100 miles 21 41 61 81 Over
Types of place visited – volume of visits Park in a town or city 558m 679m Path, cycleway, bridleway 360m 369m Woodland or forest 326m 317m Another open space in countryside 307m 319m Farmland 233m 209m River, lake, canal 232m 253m Playing field/other recreation area 191m 195m Another open space in town or city 189m 226m 2010/11 Country park 176m 199m 2009/10 A beach 159m 174m A village 157m 176m Other coastline 91m 98m Childrens playground 76m 82m Mountain, hill, moorland 64m 61m An allotment 16m 17m 0 200 400 600 800 Million visits
Types of place visited – changes between years Farmland 13% Mountain, hill, moorland 10% Woodland 4% 0% Playing field or other recreation area -2% Path, cycleway, bridleway -3% Another open space in the countryside -6% Allotment/community garden -6% Children’s playground -7% River, lake, canal -8% Other coastline -10% Village -10% Beach -13% Country park -15% Another open space in town or city -18% Park in a town or city -20% -15% -10% -5% 0% 5% 10% 15% Percentage change between 2009/10 and 2010/11
Activities during visits to the natural environment- volume of visits Walking with a dog 1267m 1380m Walking, not with a dog 660m 739m Playing with children 212m 229m Eating or drinking out 142m 182m Visiting an attraction 89m 109m Running 74m 80m Wildlife watching 70m 77m Informal games and sport 66m 85m Road cycling 50m 64m 2010/11 Visits to a beach, sunbathing, paddling 50m 51m 48m 2009/10 Appreciating scenery from your car 53m Picnicking 46m 53 Horse riding 27m 35m Off road cycling, MTB 26m 34m Fishing 15m 17m Swimming outdoors 13m 16m Watersports 11m 16m Fieldsports 10m 15m 0 250 500 750 1000 1250 1500 Million visits
Activities during visits to the natural environment- changes between years -1% Wildlife watching -3% Visits to the beach, sunbathing, paddling -5% Running -6% Watersports -8% Walking with a dog -8% Playing with children -8% Appreciating scenery from your car -10% Walking, not with a dog -14% Fishing -15% Picnicking -19% Visiting an attraction -20% Off road cycling/mountain biking -21% Swimming outdoors -21% Eating or drinking out -22% Informal games and sport -23% Road cycling -23% Horse riding -25% -20% -15% -10% -5% 0% 5% 10% 15% Percentage change between 2009/10 and 2010/11
Reasons for taking visits 48 Variations in motivations… To exercise your dog 47 For health or exercise 38 34 To relax and unwind 26 25 By age For fresh air or to enjoy pleasant 24 Under 25s – spending time with friends weather 21 24 to 44 – spending time with family 22 45 to 65 – relaxing and unwinding To enjoy scenery 20 Health and exercise – increasingly For peace and quiet 16 important with advancing age. 15 To enjoy wildlife 14 2010/11 13 To spend time with family 13 2009/10 12 By gender 12 Men – health and exercise To be somewhere you like Women – exercising dogs, time with 10 11 family, entertaining children. To entertain children 11 To spend time with friends 9 9 To challenge yourself or achieve 4 something 3 By socio-economic groupTo learn something about the outdoors 2 ABC1s – health and exercise, relaxing and 2 unwinding 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 C2DEs – exercising dogs. Percentage of visits
Outcomes of visits to the natural environment I enjoyed it 47 50 2 It made me feel calm and 32 52 9 5 relaxed It made me feel refreshed 31 52 9 7 and revitalisedI took time to appreciate my 31 54 8 8 surroundings I felt close to nature 25 50 12 11 I learned something new 10 26 23 42 about the natural world Percentage of adult population Agree strongly Agree Neither Disagree/ Disagree strongly Women are generally Those who take visits most more likey to report often report the most positive outcomes, with positive outcomes the exception of ‘learning including ABCs, people with something new’. white ethnicity.
Outcomes of visits to the natural environment- Variations in by type of place visited Visits to the coast are most % that agree strongly with I enjoyed it likely to have the strongest each statement 100% positive outcomes. It made me feel calm I felt close to nature 50% and relaxed 0% I learned something It made me feel new about the natural refreshed and world revitalised Green space in town/city Coast I took time to appreciate my Countryside surroundings
Other types of engagementEnjoying and appreciating the natural environment
Attitudes to the natural environment Having open green spaces close to where I live is 49 44 53 important There are many natural places I may never visit but I 42 51 52 am glad they exist Spending time out of doors (including my own garden) is 41 46 7 5 an important part of my life I am concerned about damage to the natural 34 52 10 5 environment Percentage of adult population Agree strongly Agree Neither Disagree/ Disagree strongly Agreement was higher amongst women, older age groups, those in the AB and C1 socio-economic groups and those with a white ethnic background.
MENE Year Three Fieldwork for the third year of MENE continues until the end of February 2012. The third year of the survey will allow for the continued measurement of changes in levels of engagement with the natural environment with results published each month. The cumulative sample of c.140,000 interviews will allow a robust analysis at an overall population level and amongst key groups of interest, including: At a county level By population group e.g. age, ethnicity, socio-economic status By type of place visited By activities undertaken
Accessing and using the data 2010/11 Technical Annual Report Report Monthly updates On-line data viewer For further information relating to official statistics contact Stephen.herbert@ naturalengland.org.uk Attitudes to the Segmentationenvironment report Report ELVS comparison SPSS datasets For all other questions contact Erica Wayman, MENE Project Manager Erica.wayman@ naturalengland.org.uk
Accessing and using the data Access the outputs by going to:www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/enjoying/research/monitor Or go direct to the online viewer at:www.naturalengland.org.uk/mene Please complete the MENE user engagement survey ! (accessed via the main site above)
Monitor of Engagement with the Natural EnvironmentResults of the 2010 – 2011 survey