Defining rural and non-rural areas to support zero waste policies
Scotland has a low population density: around 65 people per square kilometre. However this statistic masks two population extremes.
Through the central belt and along areas of the east and west coast, Scotland is a highly urbanised country, with 82% of the population living in settlements of 3,000 people or more. Conversely, areas in the north and north western parts of the country are some of the most sparsely populated areas of the UK, with population densities as low as 8 people per square kilometre.
These trends present unique challenges to those responsible for collecting and managing Scotland's waste. For instance, in rural areas, the significant distances and travel times involved in the collecting and transporting of waste and recyclable materials can increase financial costs and carbon costs from vehicle emissions.
Defining rural and non-rural areas
To support the development of zero waste policies and regulations that account for these important geographic and population trends, Scottish Government has identified areas of the country that should be considered "rural areas". The distinction between rural areas and non-rural areas will be used to develop and roll out policies and regulations that are tailored to the specific technical, economic and environmental challenges that these different areas of Scotland present.
The delineation between rural and non-rural areas is based upon Scottish Government's 6-Fold Urban/Rural Classification 2009-10. This classification scheme divides geographic areas of Scotland into 6 classes based on population density and travel times between urban areas (Table 1).
For the purposes of zero waste policies, rural areas are defined as 'remote rural areas', 'accessible rural areas' and 'remote small towns'.
Rural area postcodes
To ensue that members of the public, business and local authorities can quickly and accurately determine whether households or businesses premises fall with a rural area, the Scottish Government has prepared a series of look-up tables for each local authority. Each table summarises the postcodes that fall within a rural area within each local authority boundary.
Where necessary, Scottish Government intends to use this information to develop more sophisticated on-line postcode search tools that will allow the public and businesses to quickly identify whether they fall within an area that the Scottish Government considers to be a "rural area" for the purposes of waste and resource management policy.
Table 1 Scottish Government 6-Fold Urban/Rural Classification 2009-10
|1||Large Urban Areas||Settlements of over 125,000 people.|
|2||Other Urban Areas||Settlements of 10,000 to 125,000 people.|
|3||Accessible Small Towns||Settlements of between 3,000 and 10,000 people, and within a 30 minute drive time of a Settlement of 10,000 or more.|
|4||Remote Small Towns||Settlements of between 3,000 and 10,000 people, and with a drive time of over 30 minutes to a Settlement of 10,000 or more.|
|5||Accessible Rural Areas||Areas with a population of less than 3,000 people, and within a 30 minute drive time of a Settlement of 10,000 or more.|
|6||Remote Rural Areas||Areas with a population of less than 3,000 people, and with a drive time of over 30 minutes to a Settlement of 10,000 or more.|
Table 2 Local Authorities Post Code Date Contents
|Argyll & Bute|
|Dumfries & Galloway|
|Edinburgh, City of|
|Perth & Kinross|