Green Issues Central To ‘Every Child Matters’, Says Report

Achieving the goals of Every Child Matters may not be possible without making the environment one of its top priorities, is the claim made by a newly released report by the Sustainable Development Commission.

The Every Child’s Future Matters study argues environmental factors such as road noise, a decrease in green space and a lack of play areas all have a detrimental effect on children. “Children’s experiences are innately bound up with their environments for good and ill,” the study concludes. “Changes to the quality of those environments impact on the quality of life of children and their communities.”

Future development and regeneration schemes need to focus on actively reducing pollution and noise from road traffic and help enable children to walk and cycle safely, the commission recommends. Green space needs to be a high priority in planning and regenerating residential areas, and all programmes and initiatives on a national and local level should be achieved in an environmentally friendly way to tackle climate change.

Waleed Saheem, commissioner for education and young people at the commission, said: “These concerns are not some kind of sideshow to children’s wellbeing, they are critical features of a good childhood. And yet the majority of children and young people’s plans contain scant reference to the environment.”