Green Infrastructure Mapping Database and Analyses - Version 1.2

A freely available tool providing GI Mapping layers and analyses, and the GI Mapping Database User Guide



Defra and Natural England have developed an England-wide Green Infrastructure mapping database, bringing together data from around 50 sources of environmental and socio-economic data. It will provide an England level baseline and assist local authorities and other stakeholders to assess green infrastructure provision against the emerging GI Standards.

Local authorities and others may use the content of Version 1.2 for planning, monitoring and evaluating the provision of GI, and may wish to add more detailed local data to supplement the national data. At very local levels the maps will require the import of local data and are likely to require some ground truthing to iron out discrepancies and errors between the national data and the situations on the ground. The maps are intended (with appropriate supplementary data) to help in the development of local plans, policies and GI strategies. They can be used in engagement with stakeholders, including developers and communities, to help identify priorities for GI enhancement and creation, and to address inequalities in access to green space.

For further information on the Green Infrastructure Mapping, please watch our Green Infrastructure Framework launch event and Mapping "deep dive" session.





High Level Access Analysis

Natural England Survey Findings

Data from Natural England’s Monitor of Engagement in the Nature Environment and People and Nature Survey shows:

High Level Access Analysis
Accessible Natural Greenspace

Initial Findings from GI Mapping Analysis on Access to Greenspace

Given that most visits to greenspace are within 1 mile from home, our initial analysis focused on access to greenspace in the three ‘closest to home’ criteria of the updated Accessible Greenspace Standards (previously Accessible Natural Greenspace Standards ANGST):

  • Doorstep Greenspace: a greenspace of at least 0.5ha within 200m from home
  • Local Natural Greenspace: a natural greenspace of at least 2ha within 300m from home
  • Neighbourhood Natural Greenspace: a natural greenspace of at least 10ha within 1km from home

Please see Glossary for full definitions of greenspace.

Our initial high-level analysis of the GI Mapping Database focused on extracting some basic statistics from the spatial data. Work to understand the margins for error in the data is ongoing and any figures extracted are those that can be detected in the data in its current form with no correction for error. Initial analysis figures must thus be read with some caution.

Our initial analysis of the three most local Accessible Greenspace Standards buffers (straight-line distances) tells us that across urban and rural areas in England:

  • 1 in 3 people live within 200m of a doorstep greenspace of at least 0.5ha
  • 1 in 4 people live within 300m of a local natural greenspace of at least 2ha
  • 1 in 2 people live within 1km of a neighbourhood natural greenspace of at least 10ha

When considered together, these three most local Accessible Greenspace Standards buffers allow us to form a composite picture of access to different sizes of greenspace within a '15-minute walk zone' (based on a straight-line distance of 1km from home). Initial findings (see caveats and limitations) suggest that:

  • Around 2 in 3 people (62%) live within at least one of the three local Accessible Greenspace Standards buffers within a '15-minute walk zone' (based on a straight-line distance of 1km)
  • In the 200 most disadvantaged urban Lower Super Output Areas (those with the lowest levels of accessible greenspace combined with the highest levels of deprivation), 3% of people have access to greenspace within a ‘15-minute walk zone (based on a straight-line distance of 1km).

This assumes:

  • Straight lines 'as-the-crow-flies' distances (see caveats and limitations in GI Mapping Database User Guide), will be further when actually travelled i.e. ‘ on the ground’. Natural England is testing the ratio of actual walking distances to straight-line distances.
  • Walking speeds vary between approximately 60 metres per minute and 85 metres per minute. (Based on average walking speeds as set out in the Chartered Institution for Highways and Transportation and the National Model Design Code). Therefore 1000m can be walked in between 16.7 minutes by the slower walkers (e.g. teenagers and over 60’s) and 11.8 minutes by the fastest walkers. As actual walking distance will be longer than straight-line distance in most cases, additional walking time should be allowed. The ‘percentage of total population covered by greenspace buffer’ is based on an assumption that the population within each lower layer super output area (LSOA) is evenly distributed.
High Level Access Analysis
ANGSt Benchmarks

Definition of the '15 Minute walk zone'

The assessment of access to greenspace within a '15-minute walk zone' is based on living within at least one of the three local Accessible Greenspace Standards buffers:

  • the 200m/0.5ha doorstep greenspace (dark blue)
  • the 300m/2ha local natural greenspace (medium blue)
  • the 1km/10ha neighbourhood natural greenspace (light blue)

This is a proxy analysis and the reality on the ground may mean that some areas within this composite analysis will involve walking for much less than 15 minutes to the smaller sites. In other other cases walking distance will be longer than 1km and take longer to walk than 15 minutes due to the street pattern and barriers such as major roads railways and rivers, and especially for slower walkers such as the young and elderly.

The analysis uses Census 2011 population figures. The mapping will be updated with Census 21 figures for the next iteration.

Future Mapping

New content for version 1.2

In future the GI Framework will include mapping and analyses in the following areas:

Green and Blue Infrastructure Assets Module

  • New map for “Permissive access”. Data sourced from land owners who provide permissive access. Only a limited number of data owners came forward this time but this layer can expand over time as more organisations come forward with their data and permit us to publish.
  • Addition of “Access Points” map showing locations of points of access to Accessible Green Infrastructure.

Accessible Natural Green Space Standards Assessment Module (Re-name pending for later in 2023).

  • New map showing route of “major barriers” (Motorways and Railways) which in combination with the Blue Infrastructure Network Map can reveal likely barriers crossing the buffers of spaces used in the ANGSt analysis which may restrict access to green spaces.

Public Rights of Way Module

  • PRoW Network and Density map – increased coverage (gaps filled). Highway authorities for which no data has been sourced decreased from 53 to 47. Please note that this includes Inner London authorities and the Isles of Scilly for which there is no PRoW data.
  • New maps have been created to display “Higher Rights” only. These are all PRoW except Public Footpaths. A “Higher Rights Network” map has been created alongside a ”Higher Rights Density” map based on a 5km grid to show the distribution and connectedness of networks of PRoW providing access rights above being on foot only.
  • New layer showing “PRoW Experiential Terrain” mapping. This map combines the PRoW Network data with (amended) Living England Map data and Landscape Descriptor Unit data to provide information on the likely physical conditions on the PRoW sections (likely habitat through which the route passes and information on the physical landscape terrain).

New content for version 1.2 (continued)

Blue Infrastructure Module

  • Contextual data maps for flood risk added (Rivers and seas and Surface Water).
  • New assessment of Access to Urban Waterside. This assessment expands on previous Access to Waterside mapping by applying a more detailed approach to the urban environment by expanding the assessment of accessibility beyond that provided by PRoW and Accessible Green Infrastructure to also include Urban Paths. For technical reasons, this does not however include roads or pavements.

Accessible Natural Green Space Inequalities

  • New mapping of Combined Green Space and PRoW inequalities showing (on a 5 km grid square) the relative combined provision of green space area and length of Public Rights of Way showing areas with deficiencies in one or both of the parameters.

Coast and access module

  • New module starting to bring together data specifically about the coast. On this occasion this includes data on the England Coast Path and Margin, areas of mapped foreshore and some limited (point) data on Bathing Waters (mostly beaches).

Sports, Play and Active Recreation

  • New content bringing together spatial data on provision for outdoor sports, play spaces and active recreational activities. This mapping brings together OS Green Space data on activity places alongside Sport England data on Active Places facilities provision (outdoor only).
City railroad
City railroad

Mapping Analysis Caveats, Limitations and Assumptions

Due to the evolving and complex nature of the mapping research, these are only initial and partial findings – they are not definitive and may change as we continue to evolve our analysis. Caveats, limitations and assumption are set out in the GI Mapping Database User Guide (Sections 4 and 5 should be referred to for more detail).