Stage 2: Data and evidence gathering, involvement and consultation
This section includes the results of the evidence identified to date, based on the high level objectives of the strategy.
Evidence suggests that no single demographic group are inherent litterers.14 There is wide variation in the frequency and extent to which individuals’ litter, which depends on the circumstances they find themselves in. This point is relevant to all the protected characteristic groups listed here.
The evidence is limited in relation to who fly tips. There is an element of premeditation which suggests the behaviours involved are quite different to littering and may relate more to specific groups.
Although there is no single demographic that litters significantly more than others, some evidence suggests that that younger people:
- May litter slightly more than older people.
- Are more willing to admit to littering.
However, it is also likely that younger people are more concerned about litter and flytipping and therefore could experience a greater benefit from a reduction in litter and flytipping. The Scottish Household Survey, 2019 reported that the proportion of individuals who felt that rubbish or litter lying around in the community was very/fairly common was slightly higher for the 16 – 39 age group (at 36%, compared with 31% for 40 – 59 and 26% for over 60s).10
Any communications interventions associated with the strategy would ensure an inclusive approach and consider those who are less likely to have internet access or be regular users. A growing proportion of older people are internet users it is still significantly lower than for the wider population at 66% for over 60s, compared to 88% for the wider adult population.
There is limited evidence specifically relating to people with disabilities and litter and flytipping within Scotland. Whilst we have not identified published evidence, it is possible that the cumulative effect associated with socio-economics and the link between poverty and disability, could mean people with disabilities are more likely to live in deprived areas where litter is more prevalent and the local environmental quality lower. Some disabilities incur additional living costs, which are not generally taken into account by measures of poverty. Using an adjusted poverty rate that partly accounts for additional living costs, data from 2017-2020 showed that the poverty rate was higher for individuals in households with a disabled person. After housing costs, the poverty rate was 29% (640,000 people each year) for people living with a disabled household member, and 16% (500,000 people) for those without.
Any interventions developed as part of the strategy should take an inclusive approach and consider usability for those with disabilities. Consultation responses for the 2014 marine litter strategy highlighted that people with certain disabilities, such as visual impairments and learning difficulties may be at a disadvantage when it comes to information provision and awareness raising, unless messages are accessible. Digital inclusivity is also relevant as the proportion of the population with disabilities has lower rates of internet usage. Twenty nine percent of adults who have some form of limiting long-term physical or mental health condition or illness do not use the internet, a significantly higher share than for those who have some form of non-limiting condition or illness (10%) and those who have none (6%).
We did not find any research specifically on race/ethnicity and littering or flytipping and there is no evidence to suggest that there will be any negative impacts on people on the grounds of their race.
Language may also be a barrier to understanding communications for some people, including those whose first language is not English. Any Communications, products and services designed should be inclusive and accessible.
Evidence suggests that women have stronger anti-littering attitudes than men, and that men drop slightly more litter than women do.31 The strategy is not considered likely to have a disproportionate impact for this protected characteristic and it is therefore not further considered in this assessment.
For the following protected characteristics, no evidence was identified in relation to the impacts of litter and flytipping: Pregnancy and Maternity, Gender reassignment, Sexual orientation, Religion or belief.
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