National litter and flytipping consultation: fairer Scotland duty assessment

Fairer Scotland Duty Assessment (FSDA) for the proposed actions for the National Litter and Flytipping Strategy.

Stage 2 - Evidence

The second stage involves working closely with analysts, making full use of relevant data and commissioning other evidence to inform options for improvement. This stage is likely to involve a number of discussions between teams:

  • To understand fully the inequalities of outcome associated with this programme/policy/decision.
  • To begin to scope out how the programme/policy/decision could be strengthened to reduce these inequalities further, based on the evidence.
  • Where necessary, to commission new data collection, for example from community consultation/participation, or new secondary analysis of existing data.

The Scottish Government has access to a wide range of relevant data, both quantitative and qualitative. This includes administrative data, data about local neighbourhoods (e.g. the Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation), new experimental statistics on combined low income and material deprivation (now available at local level for the first time), and health, education and employment data. Analytical teams will be able to advise on which evidence is most useful.

Evidence can also be sought from communities and groups directly, particularly when there are evidence gaps – for example, where a significant new policy is being developed. Engagement processes should ideally reflect the principles of the National Standards for Community Engagement.

Another source of help – particularly in terms of integrating equality and socio-economic considerations – is the Scottish Government Equality Evidence Finder.This is an updated web resource providing equality evidence by subject area and protected characteristic. We intend to expand this over the next year to include socio-economic disadvantage as an additional category, also including child poverty considerations.

Please answer the questions below to help meet the duty's evidence requirements.

4. What does the evidence suggest about existing inequalities of outcome, caused by socio-economic disadvantage, in this specific policy area? You might want to think about:

  • People on low incomes
  • People living in deprived areas (and within particular communities of place and interest)
  • People with no / low wealth or in debt
  • People in material deprivation
  • People from different social classes

In the policy area of littering and flytipping, inequality of outcome exists in relation to levels of deprivation in geographical areas. Specifically, there is evidence to suggest that litter and flytipping are more prevalent in more deprived areas, with associated greater negative impacts on local people and businesses.

The Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation provides an area-based measure of relative deprivation. Whilst not every person in a highly deprived area will themselves be experiencing high levels of deprivation, it provides a tool to improve understanding about the outcomes and circumstances of people living in the most deprived areas in Scotland. Over half of the zones ranked in the top 20% for multiple deprivation are located within six local authority areas, while some other local authorities have no zones at all in this category, demonstrating that poverty is concentrated in certain areas.[7]

Adults living in the 20% least deprived areas were more likely to rate their neighbourhood as a very good place to live than those in the 20% most deprived areas (77% in the least deprived areas, and 32% in the most deprived areas).[8]

This finding is assumed to partially reflect environmental quality and neighbourhood problems. 45% of all adults reported that they did not experience any neighbourhood problems in 2019. Those living in the 20% most deprived areas were more likely to experience neighbourhood problems, with top problems recorded as 'animal nuisance' (32%) and 'rubbish or litter lying around' (31%).[8]

There is evidence that there may be a relationship between areas with more litter and higher crime rates. In rural areas some evidence suggests possible links between flytipping and other rural crimes. In both rural and urban areas, litter and flytipping can impact negatively on house prices and increase disamenity.[9]

A flytipping evidence review conducted in 2017 identified that 45% of 'those living in self-identified more deprived areas' had seen a flytipping incident in the last year compared to only 20% of those in 'well-off' areas and 25% of those in 'middling' areas.[10] Respondents living in tenements or flats were more likely than those in houses to have seen flytipping in the previous year (35% vs. 24%).

While some groups are slightly more likely to litter (and admit it) than others, there is no evidence that a particular 'littering demographic' exists. The link between litter and flytipping in areas of social deprivation suggests that a combination of specific behavioural and contextual factors are contributors.

Socioeconomic disadvantage related to low income, low wealth (or no wealth/debt), material deprivation or social class is less likely to be relevant for this strategy area. However, due to the limited policy detail available at this stage, they cannot be entirely excluded.

5. What does the evidence suggest about any possible impacts of the policy/programme/decision, as currently planned, on those inequalities of outcome?

The overarching aim of the strategy is to reduce litter and flytipping. This has the potential to have a greater positive impact in deprived areas where the perceived negative impact is more significant. Through litter and flytipping reduction the strategy will also have potential to improve environment, health and wellbeing, crime and disamenity impacts.

However, as the details of how the strategy will be implemented through specific plans are currently limited, the possible impacts should be revisited when more detail is available. Any communications or interventions should be designed in an inclusive manner (both digital and non-digital) so that everyone has equal opportunity to engage and understand their responsibilities.

6. Is there any evidence that suggests alternative approaches to the policy/programme/decision? E.g. Evidence from around the UK? International evidence?

Evidence from around the UK suggests a similar approach to that being proposed for this strategy (at a high level). These strategies are also in development.

Internationally, there is considerable variation at both national and regional levels. Once specific actions have been identified for the strategy, there may be value in some more detailed comparisons.

7. What key evidence gaps are there? Is it possible to collect new evidence quickly in areas where we don't currently have any? For example, through consultation meetings, focus groups or surveys?

Defining gaps at this stage is impacted by the lack of detail regarding specific measures. When suitable detail is available, we would aim to identify gaps and develop an engagement strategy in order to collect new evidence.

8. How could you involve communities of interest (including those with lived experience of poverty and disadvantage) in this process? The voices of people and communities are likely to be important in identifying any potential improvements to the programme/policy/decision.

The engagement strategy will be developed with communities of interest in mind. We recognise the challenges associated with ensuring the voices of people in relevant communities of interest are heard and would aim to develop suitable communication methods through co-design with Scottish Government specialists.



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