Official Statistics

Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment pilot study: visits to the natural environment by children

Results from a project to test a method of measuring the level of access to the natural environment by children in England.

Applies to England


MENE: a pilot for an indicator of visits to the natural environment by children - results from years 1 and 2 (March 2013 to February 2015)

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The Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment (MENE) children’s survey is a pilot study to test the methodology for development of a national indicator for children’s access to the natural environment.

The survey collected information on children’s visits to the natural environment, including the:

  • frequency and destination of visits
  • motivations for visits
  • who visits were taken with
  • whether adults were present

The study has been carried out as a partnership project between Natural England, Defra, Public Health England, Historic England and King’s College, London.

Survey method

A new set of questions were added to the main MENE survey and data collected from adults about children in their household. These additional questions were asked on a monthly basis and in the 2 year pilot gathered information on visits taken by over 10,000 children aged under 16 years.

How the survey is used

Natural England and its partners will use the findings of the survey to:

  • inform their work, and that of other interested parties, to link it more closely to need
  • evaluate the impact and effectiveness of this work
  • measure the impact of policy intervention

Pre-release access list

The pre-release access order 2008 restricts who can see official statistics before they’re published. There’s a strict 24 hour period where details of the statistics can’t be disclosed before they’re published. The pre-release list (from 5 February 2016) consists of:

  • Defra ministers and special advisers:
    • Secretary of State
    • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for natural environment and science
    • Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for water, forestry, rural affairs and resource management
    • special advisers x 2
  • Defra officers:
    • permanent secretary
    • press officers x 2
    • director for countryside and nature
    • evidence deputy director
    • statistician
    • senior policy adviser landscape, access, planning and forestry
    • social research adviser
  • Natural England:
    • chief executive
    • chief strategy and reform officer
    • director - evidence
    • director – landscape, access and geodiversity
    • head of communications
    • press officers x 2

Further information

See the MENE page for more information.

Published 10 February 2016