New partnership will help manage Cornwall’s environment

Posted on 11th August 2015

An exciting new partnership in Cornwall is hoping to use academic research to inform the management of the county’s world-class natural habitats.

The University of Exeter has joined forces with Cornwall Council to create the initiative, which will explore how the latest findings in environment and health research can be used to protect and maximise the benefits of Cornwall’s outdoor spaces.

A growing body of research is showing that natural environments can be good for health and the University of Exeter boasts two of the UK’s leading centres in the field, located right here in Cornwall.

Specialists from both the European Centre for Environment and Human Health and the Environment and Sustainability Institute will be working with the Council, which is responsible for managing a large amount of open space across the county.

“We want research to inform effective decisions around preserving natural habitats”

Dr Ben Wheeler, an expert in Health Geography, is leading the project and said “We want our research to inform effective decisions around preserving natural habitats and enhancing public spaces for the benefit of residents and visitors. This partnership will help us to figure out the best ways of working with governing bodies – so research can reliably shape policy at a regional and national level.”

The project is supported by Cornwall Council’s Environment Portfolio Holder, Councillor Edwina Hannaford, who said “We all know that spending time in the natural environment is good for our health, so I am really looking forward to seeing the outcome of this project, which is looking at what health, economic and social benefits can come from our Cornwall Council green spaces”.

The research builds on several exciting studies in Cornwall which are examining how green spaces in urban and rural environments might be used to improve people’s wellbeing. These include looking at the effects biodiversity can have on health, and whether ‘doses’ of nature can be prescribed to alleviate illness such as depression.

It has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council through their Impact Acceleration scheme.

Related content

News

Two hour ‘nature dose’ boosts health

Spending at least two hours a week in nature may be a crucial threshold for promoting health and wellbeing, according to a new large-scale study.

News

Fishing among worst jobs for health

People working in the fishing industry have among the poorest health of all workers in England and Wales, new research suggests

News

Nature soundscape experiment launched!

Take part in a new experiment with the BBC and help us shed light on how ‘listening to nature’ could impact wellbeing.