This research report presents findings from a large-scale survey and focus groups, delving into the current utilisation of green and blue spaces (GBS) by individuals with visual impairments and the extent to which existing physical and social access opportunities align with their needs and preferences. Additionally, the report identifies the barriers and enablers that impact GBS access and outlines key areas that could foster equitable and sustainable GBS access for individuals with visual impairments and disabilities more broadly.
Despite the multiple benefits GBS can offer, including enhanced mental health, physical wellbeing, and social connections, individuals with visual impairments often encounter substantial obstacles when attempting to access and enjoy these spaces.
Based on the research findings, the report offers recommendations aimed at improving GBS accessibility for visitors with visual impairments. Achieving equitable access necessitates a multifaceted approach including: better information dissemination, more accessible technology options, improved transportation options, enhanced facilities, improved physical access, increased availability of inclusive activities, and more effective addressing of safety concerns.
With a projected rise in the number of individuals experiencing sight loss due to an aging population, this study places a spotlight on initiatives (at county and national levels) to enhance GBS access and mitigate inequalities across England. The outputs of this project are relevant to national and local county-level efforts and have the potential to inform nationwide policies geared toward fostering inclusivity in green and blue spaces use and enjoyment.