Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust have launched a public appeal to help turn unloved spaces in our towns and cities into vital natural space for people and wildlife.

‘Waste of Space’ is a public appeal to help identify the unloved scraps of land in our towns and cities that could, and should, do much more for people and nature. 

Natural and wild places have provided a lifeline for people across Hampshire over the past year, providing essential outside space to relax, exercise, play and spend time with friends and family. Access to these wild spaces and connection to nature is known to benefit people’s physical and mental health, leading to reductions in depression, anxiety and obesity and strengthening people’s immune systems. However, the pandemic has highlighted vast inequalities in access to green and natural spaces. One in eight households have no garden and rely entirely on public open spaces, particularly in urban areas. 

The Trust is asking local people to map the ‘wasted space’, no matter how small, in their communities. This could include tall buildings with the potential to have swift boxes on, paved over surfaces which could be filled with colourful planters or simply a space which needs a litter pick and a place to sit to transform it. The Trust want local people to help find creative ways to make space for nature within our towns and cities.

Debbie Tann, CEO of HIWWT, says: “Wildlife has been squeezed into smaller and smaller spaces just at the time when people need nature more than ever for their health and wellbeing. Our campaign is calling for 30% of land and sea to be restored for nature by 2030. This must be the decade of nature’s recovery and rewilding our lives.”

Becky Fisher at the Trust, says: “Access to wild spaces should not be a luxury enjoyed only by those in the leafy parts of our counties. We must work with local people to map areas that are a ‘waste of space’ across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.”

Together we can rewild where we live. 

Record your Waste of Space at www.hiwwt.org.uk/waste-space