What accounts for ‘England’s green and pleasant land’? A panel data analysis of mental health and land cover types in rural England

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

October 15, 2015


Exposure to green space is associated with a variety of positive health
states. Research to date has focused primarily on ‘generic’ green space
in urban areas, where green space is relatively scarce and where it is
dominated by playing fields and parks. The current research adds to our
understanding with an examination of relationships between different
types of green space and mental health in rural areas in England
(approximate rural population = 4 million). The aggregate land cover
classes of Land Cover Map 2007 were linked to rural residential areas
(Lower-level Super Output Areas) and then linked to rural participants (n = 2020)
in the 18-year longitudinal British Household Panel Survey. Random
effects regression of mental health (as measured by GHQ12 scores)
against land cover enabled effects to be simultaneously estimated from
both mean between-individual differences and from within-individual
differences over time. The nine natural land cover classes (Broadleaved
woodland; Coniferous woodland; Arable; Improved grassland; Semi-natural
grassland; Mountain, heath and bog; Saltwater; Freshwater; Coastal) were
not significantly associated with differences in mental health between
individuals. However, significant relationships were observed between
some types of land cover and within-individual change in mental health
amongst individuals who relocated during the 18 annual waves of the
panel. These findings indicate the presence of important health related
ecosystem services from different land cover types that have not
previously been investigated and which help more effective spatial
planning and land use management.

Published in

Landscape and Urban Planning

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 142 , p.38 -46







Not held in Research Library - bibliographic reference only



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