Major Changes Identified for 2009-2010
Changes from the previous release of the classification are fairly minimal. The differences between the 2007-2008 and the 2009-2010 classifications normally stem from changes to either Settlement populations or Settlement boundaries. In terms of measuring accessibility, the same method of calculating the 30 and 60 minute drive times was used as in the previous 2007-2008 classification, therefore changes with respect to accessibility are minimal.
The classification of a particular area will change if the Settlement population crosses the 10,000 and 3,000 marks as these are the population thresholds used to distinguish between urban and rural areas. In the 2007-2008 classification, Kincardine (Fife) had an estimated population greater than 3,000. This estimate drops below 3,000 for the 2009-2010 classification, and Kincardine moves from being classed as a small town to a rural area. Conversely, Gretna (Dumfries & Galloway) previously had a population estimate below 3,000, but has risen above the 3,000 mark for the 2009-2010 classification and is now classed as a small town as opposed to a rural area.
One Settlement has also crossed the 10,000 population threshold. The population of Tranent (East Lothian) has risen above 10,000 and is now classed as an other urban area, as opposed to small town. Since the drive times are calculated from Settlements with a population estimate of 10,000 or greater, only changes to these Settlements would have a significant effect on the resulting drive times. Because Tranent is now classed as an urban area (with a population of above 10,000), this extends the 30 minute drive time boundary much further out into East Lothian (from Haddington to Dunbar) than in the previous release (2007-2008) of the classification, and this results in a significant number of data zones changing classification in this area.
Minor changes in shape and area of a particular Settlement can also have an impact on the classification. For example, the Settlement of Inverness now includes the area of Culloden, which for the previous release was designated a separate Settlement. This change in shape also resulted in a slight shift to the east of the location of Inverness' population weighted centroid, meaning a small shift to the east in terms of accessibility. Further, the incorporation of Culloden into Inverness results in the data zones within Culloden changing from an 'accessible small town' designation to an 'other urban area' for the 2009-2010 classification.