Innovative methods to connect and communicate between disciplines

Collecting reliable and consistent data about people’s relationship with the natural environment is likely to be crucial to effective policy delivery by governments. Social surveys are a prominent tool in delivering this insight. In the UK, surveys on people’s rela/onship with nature are run by government bodies, nongovernmental organisa/ons, academic researchers, and others. This scoping assessment identifies the range of such surveys that are taking place within the UK (as of August 2023) and considers why survey data is being collected and by whom. It finds that existing surveys ask questions to both representa/ve and nonrepresentative samples of the UK public to provide information on measures including: frequency of visits to natural spaces; activities undertaken when in natural spaces; barriers to these visits; attitudes to the natural environment; awareness of perceived threats to nature; any pro-environmental behaviours that might be undertaken; and the kinds of well-being benefits that individuals may obtain from engaging with the natural world.

However, the report notes that collecting reliable and consistent data within the UK presents particular challenges. The environment is a devolved issue and therefore data is collected differently in the four UK nations by distinct technical and advisory bodies. Furthermore, there is currently limited coordination and consistency between non-governmental organisations in the kinds of data
collected and how that data is shared. In going forward, there is great potential for enhanced collaboration and coordination between organisations. There is also a need for greater awareness amongst the potential users of survey data about what is available and how they can best request, resource, and utilise the best available evidence on people and nature to support their strategy and decision-making.