Heathrow expansion: Richmond Park may no longer be a place for recuperation and rejuvenation says mental health charity

A charity that helps people with mental health issues is warning that well-being may be affected if the Heathrow expansion goes ahead.

Mental health charity Dose of Nature connects patients suffering with depression and anxiety with the natural world as an alternative to medication, psychological intervention or talking therapy.

Under the current expansion plans, aircrafts would produce noise levels of up 80 decibels over Richmond Park which is above the World Health Organisation’s recommended guidelines of 45 decibels.

Dose of Nature founder Dr Alison Greenwood, 53, said: “My main concern with Richmond Park and the noise pollution is the loss of the peace and tranquility of this beautiful natural space in London.

“My clinical population, people with depression and anxiety, but also all of us are using Richmond Park at the moment as a place where we can recuperate, rejuvenate and get all the mental health benefits.

“I think they are worried, they’re frustrated and probably upset.”

Dr Greenwood uses Richmond Park on a weekly basis and provides these nature prescriptions to people referred by GPs on a 10-week programme.

She said: “It’s one of the biggest issues of our modern times, depression and anxiety but I say stress is something that we’re all familiar with and suffer from.”

Richard Gray is one of more than 2,700 members of Friends of Richmond Park and regularly visits the park with his friends and family.

He said: “I love my wildlife. I love birds and bees and I think we’re all realizing how important they are to the environment and they are to us personally in terms of our mental health and well-being.

“It’s very special and suddenly you’re going to say that’s no longer going to be the case, that’s tragic and it is such a loss to all of London.

“I would be devastated.”

Richmond Park is the largest Royal Park in London, it is visited by millions of people each year and spans 2,500 acres.

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