10 Environment

Main Findings

Climate change

The proportion of adults who view climate change as an immediate and urgent problem increased by one third between 2013 and 2017, from 46 per cent to 61 per cent.

Among 16-24 year olds, the proportion with this view increased by over half over the same period to 58 per cent, the largest increase of any age group.

Recycling

More households are now disposing of their food waste in local authority-provided food caddies (55 per cent in 2017 compared with 26 per cent in 2012).

Households in flats are much more likely to dispose of their food waste with their general waste as opposed to those living in houses (65 per cent compared to 39 per cent). Households in rural areas are more likely to use composting to dispose of their food waste (19 per cent) than households in urban areas (7 per cent) but are also more likely to dispose of food waste with their general rubbish (54 per cent compared to 47 per cent).

Around four in five households report that they recycle each of the five categories of dry recyclable materials. The recycling rate is highest for paper (86 per cent) and lowest for glass and metal (both 80 per cent), which is the same pattern as observed in 2015, the last time this question was asked.

Visits to the outdoors and greenspace

Just over half of adults (52 per cent) visited the outdoors at least once a week in the last year, an increase from 48 per cent in 2016. Adults living in the most deprived areas were more likely not to have made any visits to the outdoors in the past twelve months (20 per cent) compared to those in the least deprived areas (six per cent).

Those living closer to their nearest greenspace were more likely to use it more frequently.

Most adults (65 per cent) lived within a five minute walk of their nearest area of greenspace, a similar proportion to 2016.

More than a third of adults (37 per cent) visited their nearest area of greenspace at least

once a week, which has been around the same proportion since 2013, when comparable figures were first collected.

Most adults (74 per cent) were very or fairly satisfied with their nearest area of

greenspace, a similar proportion to 2016.

Less than a sixth of adults (15 per cent) gave their views on land use in the last 12 months, the same proportion as in 2015.

10.1 Introduction and Context

The Scottish Government and partners are working towards creating a greener Scotland by improving the natural and built environment, and protecting it for present and future generations. Actions are being taken to reduce local and global environmental impacts, through tackling climate change, moving towards a zero-waste Scotland through the development of a more circular economy, increasing the use of renewable energy and conserving natural resources. The Scottish Government is also committed to promoting the enjoyment of the countryside and of green spaces in and around towns and cities.

The updated National Performance Framework, published in June 2018, contains a National Outcome for the environment[55]: We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment.

A range of National Indicators have been developed to track progress towards this environmental outcome. Two of these indicators, ‘visits to the outdoors' and ‘access to green and blue space’, are monitored using data from the Scottish Household Survey (SHS). “Access to green and blue space” is measured using the greenspace question which defines greenspaces as “public green or open spaces in the local area, for example a park, countryside, wood, play area, canal path, riverside or beach”.

Some local authorities also use the SHS to assess progress towards environmental objectives, including those in their Single Outcome Agreements (a statement of the outcomes that they want to see for their local area).

This chapter begins by exploring attitudes towards climate change and then reports findings on the recycling of waste. It finishes by looking at visits to the outdoors, access to local greenspace and participation in land use decisions.

Responses to questions on litter and dog fouling are found in Chapter 4 ‑ "Neighbourhoods and Communities".

10.2 Attitudes to Climate Change

10.2.1 Introduction and Context

Action to tackle climate change is a high priority for the Scottish Government. The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 set a target of reducing Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 and 80 per cent by 2050, compared with the 1990 baseline[56]. The Scottish Government’s Climate Change Plan (Third Report on Policies and Proposals, RPP3) sets out how Scotland will continue to reduce emissions over the period 2018–2032 in order to deliver those targets[57]. A Bill for an Act of the Scottish Parliament to amend that Act is currently before Parliament[58]. It increases the level of ambition in the climate change targets in response to the Paris Agreement on climate change[59].

The Scottish Government recognises that public understanding, engagement and action will be critical to achieving the social and economic transformations required to achieve a low carbon society and to meet its climate change targets. Its Low Carbon Behaviours Framework[60] sets out a strategic approach to encourage low carbon lifestyles amongst individuals, households, communities and businesses in Scotland.

For the last five years the SHS has included a question about perceptions of climate change as a problem, which was first asked in the Scottish Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours Survey (SEABS) in 2008[61]. In 2015, the SHS added four new questions to explore people’s perceptions relevant to action to tackle climate change, three of which were also asked in SEABS. The SHS results are discussed in relation to the SEABS results in this section, although it is worth noting that there were some differences between the surveys. In the SEABS survey, respondents were asked a more detailed set of questions about the environment compared with the SHS, in which climate change is one of a wide range of topics on which respondents answer questions.

10.2.2 Attitudes towards Climate Change as a problem

Respondents were presented with four different statements about climate change and asked which, if any, came closest to their own view. Table 10.1 shows that the proportion of adults who view climate change as an immediate and urgent problem has increased by one third between 2013 and 2017, from 46 per cent to 61 per cent. The 2017 figure also exceeds the comparable SEABS (2008) figure of 57 per cent, for the first time since this question was included in the SHS.

Table 10.1: Perceptions about climate change as a problem
Column percentages, 2013-2017 data

Adults 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Climate change is an immediate and urgent problem 46 45 50 55 61
Climate change is more of a problem for the future 25 26 23 23 18
Climate change is not really a problem 7 8 7 6 5
I'm still not convinced that climate change is happening 13 11 11 9 8
No answer 3 3 3 2 1
Don't know 7 6 7 6 7
Total 100 100 100 100 100
Base 9,920 9,800 3,100 3,150 3,160

The perception of climate change as an immediate and urgent problem continues to vary by age. It is highest among age groups 25-34 and 35–44, and has been consistently lowest among the oldest age group, 75+. While this perception has increased among all age groups over time, the largest increase has occurred among the youngest age group. The proportion of 16-24 year olds who view climate change as an immediate problem has increased by over half between 2013 and 2017, from 38 per cent to 58 per cent (see Figure 10.1).

Figure 10.1: Perception about climate change as an immediate and urgent problem by age over time
2017 data, Adults (minimum base: 210)

Figure 10.1: Perception about climate change as an immediate and urgent problem by age over time

The perception of climate change as an immediate problem continues to vary by educational attainment and area deprivation. In 2017 there was still a large gap between adults with a degree or professional qualification (nearly eight out of ten), and adults with no qualifications (around four out of ten) who perceived climate change as an immediate and urgent problem. Climate change is also more likely to be perceived as an immediate problem by adults living in the least deprived quintile, compared with adults living in the most deprived quintile.

10.2.3 Attitudes towards taking action to tackle Climate Change

People’s attitudes towards taking action to address climate change will be influenced by, among other things, their views about whether climate change will affect Scotland; whether their everyday behaviours and lifestyles contribute to climate change; whether any actions they take would have an impact on climate change; and whether they know what actions to take personally. Respondents’ views were explored by inviting them to agree or disagree with four statements, which vary in terms of whether agreement or disagreement represents a favourable attitude towards taking action to tackle climate change.

10.2.3.1 The value of individual actions to help the environment

Respondents were asked to agree or disagree with the statement: “It’s not worth me doing things to help the environment if others don’t do the same”. Disagreement with this statement suggests a positive perception of the value of individual actions, regardless of the actions of others.

Table 10.2 shows that, in 2017, two thirds of adults disagree with this statement, an increase compared with the 2015 result and similar to the SEABS (2008) result (68 per cent). The proportion of adults who strongly disagree also increased between 2015 and 2017.

Table 10.2: “It’s not worth me doing things to help the environment if others don’t do the same”
Column percentages, 2015 and 2017 data

Adults 2015 2017
Strongly agree/Tend to agree 23 19
Neither agree nor disagree 10 10
Strongly disagree/Tend to disagree 63 67
Don't know 4 4
Total 100 100
Base 3,100 3,160

10.2.3.2 The contribution of behaviour and everyday lifestyle to climate change

Respondents were then asked about their agreement or disagreement with the statement: “I don’t believe my behaviour and everyday lifestyle contribute to climate change”. Again, disagreement with this statement suggests a perception that there is a link between individual behaviours and lifestyle and climate change.

Table 10.3 shows that in 2017, nearly six out of ten adults disagree with this statement, an increase compared with 2015 and with the SEABS (2008) result (48 per cent). The proportion of adults who strongly disagree also increased between 2015 and 2017.

Table 10.3: “I don’t believe my behaviour and everyday lifestyle contribute to climate change”
Column percentages, 2015 and 2017 data

Adults 2015 2017
Strongly agree/Tend to agree 26 23
Neither agree nor disagree 15 13
Strongly disagree/Tend to disagree 54 59
Don't know 5 5
Total 100 100
Base 3,100 3,160

10.2.3.3 Perceptions about where climate change will have an impact

Respondents were invited next to agree or disagree with the following statement: “Climate change will only have an impact on other countries, there is no need for me to worry”. Disagreement with this statement suggests a perception that climate change will have an impact on Scotland, as well as on other countries.

Table 10.4 shows that there is strong disagreement with this statement: 77 per cent of adults disagree, the same as the 2015 result but with an increase in strong disagreement. It remains lower than the SEABS (2008) result, when 85 per cent of adults disagreed.

Table 10.4: “Climate change will only have an impact on other countries, there is no need for me to worry”
Column percentages, 2015 and 2017 data

Adults 2015 2017
Strongly agree/Tend to agree 7 7
Neither agree nor disagree 10 9
Strongly disagree/Tend to disagree 77 77
Don't know 6 6
Total 100 100
Base 3,100 3,160

10.2.3.4 Understanding about actions that people can take to tackle climate change

Finally, respondents were invited to agree or disagree with the following statement: “I understand what actions people like myself should take to help tackle climate change”. Agreement with this statement suggests that respondents believe that they know what actions they could take personally, though it would not show whether they actually do know, or whether they are taking any action in practice.

Table 10.5 shows that there is strong agreement with this statement: three quarters of adults agree, a similar finding to 2015, but with an increase in strong agreement.

Table 10.5: “I understand what actions people like myself should take to help tackle climate change”
Column percentages, 2015 and 2017 data

Adults 2015 2017
Strongly agree/Tend to agree 73 74
Neither agree nor disagree 13 11
Strongly disagree/Tend to disagree 9 10
Don't know 5 5
Total 100 100
Base 3,100 3,160

10.2.3.5 Variation in attitudes about taking action to tackle Climate Change

The pattern of responses to these four questions is very similar to the pattern in relation to perceptions about climate change as an immediate and urgent problem. The age groups more likely to perceive climate change as an immediate and urgent problem are also more likely to have favourable attitudes towards action to tackle climate change. The same pattern is evident according to respondents’ educational qualifications and whether they live in less or more deprived areas.

10.3 Recycling

10.3.1 Introduction and Context

Scotland’s first circular economy strategy, “Making Things Last”[62], published in February 2016, sets out the Scottish Government’s priorities for moving towards a more circular economy – where products and materials are kept in high value use for as long as possible. Scottish Government's recycling and landfill targets, as originally set out in its 2010 “Zero Waste Plan”[63], are as follows:

  • 60 per cent of household waste recycled by 2020;
  • 70 per cent of all waste recycled by 2025;
  • A ban on municipal biodegradable waste going to landfill from 1 January 2021;
  • No more than five per cent of all waste going to landfill by 2025.

In addition, a Scottish Food Waste Reduction Target was announced in February 2016 which commits to a 33 per cent reduction by 2025 against a 2013 baseline.

To help achieve Scotland's recycling targets, the Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012 require local authorities to provide separate household collections for recyclable materials. Outwith specified rural areas this includes collection of food waste. Food collected for recycling can be processed to produce nutrient-rich fertilisers and biogas - a low carbon energy source. In January 2017, the Scottish Government reported that 80 per cent of Scottish households (1.95 million) had access to a food waste collection service[64]. Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) and the Scottish Government have also led initiatives to help people reduce unnecessary food waste (e.g. the Love Food Hate Waste, ZWS Volunteer and Community Advocate Programme, and Greener Scotland campaigns), as well as to recycle food waste.

10.3.2 Food Waste Recycling

There has been a steady increase in the number of people using food waste recycling caddies, rather than throwing food out with general waste. Less than half (48 per cent) of households now dispose of food waste with their general rubbish (Figure 10.2), unchanged from 2016 and a decrease from 55 per cent of households in 2015. The proportion of households making use of local authority-provided food caddies was 55 per cent in 2017, similar to the 56 per cent in 2016. This represents a substantial increase from the 26 per cent of households using food waste recycling caddies in 2012. Nine per cent of households dispose of their food waste by home composting, which is a similar proportion to previous years.

Figure 10.2: Methods used to dispose of food waste in the past week
2017 data, Households (base: 3,430)

Figure 10.2: Methods used to dispose of food waste in the past week

Percentages add to more than 100 per cent since multiple responses were allowed.

Table 10.6 shows that, in 2017, a higher percentage of households living in houses used a food waste caddy (63 per cent) or home composting (11 per cent) to dispose of their food waste compared to households living in flats. This may reflect differences in the amount of space available for food waste caddies and home composting. Consequently a higher proportion of those living in flats dispose of their food waste with general rubbish (65 per cent), similar to 2016 (63 per cent), but down from 73 per cent in 2015. Thirty-nine per cent of those living in houses dispose of their food waste in this way, unchanged from 2016.

Table 10.6: Method used to dispose of food waste by property type
Percentages, 2015 - 2017 data

Household House or bungalow Flat, maisonette or apartment Scotland
2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017
General waste with other rubbish 45 39 39 73 63 65 55 48 48
Local Authority-provided caddy or other receptacle 55 65 63 29 40 41 46 56 55
Home composting e.g. Heap in garden or allotment, green cone 11 13 11 3 4 6 9 10 9
Base 2,420 2,340 2,460 1,050 1,080 1,000 3,480 3,430 3,470

Table 10.7 shows that the largest difference between urban and rural households is in the higher rate of food waste composting in rural areas (19 per cent compared to seven per cent in urban areas). This might be due to households in some rural areas being provided with compost bins as opposed to food waste caddies. The proportion of households using composting as a means of disposal is similar to that observed in 2016 for both rural and urban areas. Whilst the proportion of households in urban areas disposing of food waste using food caddies is similar to 2016, there has been a decrease in the proportion of rural households using food caddies (from 51 per cent in 2016 to 39 per cent in 2017) and a consequent increase in the proportion disposing of their food waste with general rubbish (from 46 per cent in 2016 to 54 per cent in 2017). Local authorities are not legally required to provide food waste collections in rural areas.

Whilst 2017 figures use the updated 2016 urban-rural classification[65], this does not account for this change. Applying the previous 2013/14 classification to the 2017 figures, the proportions for rural households are very similar: 55 per cent for general waste, 39 per cent for food caddies and 19 per cent for home composting.

Table 10.7: Methods used to dispose of food waste by Urban/Rural classification
Percentages, 2015 - 2017 data

Household Urban Rural Scotland
2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017
General waste with other rubbish 56 48 47 46 46 54 55 48 48
Local Authority-provided caddy or other receptacle 46 57 59 45 51 39 46 56 55
Home composting e.g. Heap in garden or allotment, green cone 6 8 7 20 20 19 9 10 9
Base 2,750 2,710 2,750 730 720 720 3,480 3,430 3,470

10.3.3 Recycling of Dry Recyclable Materials

Around four in five households reported that, in general, they recycled each of the main categories of dry recyclable materials: paper, card, glass, food and drink cans/tins and plastic bottles/tubs, as shown in Figure 10.3. The recycling rate is highest for paper (86 per cent) and lowest for glass and metal (both 80 per cent), which is the same pattern as observed in 2015.

Figure 10.3: Household who reported they generally recycle certain materials
2017 data, Households (base: 3,470)

Figure 10.3: Household who reported they generally recycle certain materials

Table 10.8 shows that households living in flats have a lower rate of recycling for all materials compared to those living in houses. This difference is largest for glass, where 87 per cent of those living in houses report that they generally recycle glass jars or bottles compared to 66 per cent of households living in flats.

Table 10.8: Recycling of materials by type of property
Percentages, 2017 data

Household House or bungalow Flat, maisonette or apartment Scotland
Paper 92 75 86
Card or cardboard 91 75 86
Glass jars or bottles 87 66 80
Metal food and drinks cans/tins 87 67 80
Plastic bottles and tubs 88 70 82
Base 2,460 1,000 3,470

Recycling behaviour shows a clear pattern across areas with different levels of deprivation (Table 10.9). The most deprived areas have the lowest rates of recycling while rates improve in less deprived areas.

Table 10.9: Recycling of materials by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
Percentage, 2017 data

Households ← 20% most deprived   20% least deprived → Scotland
1 2 3 4 5
Paper 76 89 87 87 93 86
Card or cardboard 75 88 86 87 93 86
Glass jars or bottles 67 78 80 84 90 80
Metal food and drinks cans / tins 69 81 79 84 88 80
Plastic bottles and tubs 71 83 82 86 89 82
Base 660 660 750 740 650 3,470

10.4 Visits to the Outdoors, Greenspace

10.4.1 Introduction and Context

Spending time outdoors has been associated with numerous benefits, with urban green and open spaces having been shown to contribute to public health and wellbeing[66].

Responsibility for promoting visits to the outdoors is shared between Scottish Natural Heritage, other agencies such as Forestry Commission Scotland, local authorities and the National Park Authorities. Local authorities and National Park Authorities are also responsible for developing core path networks in their areas. People have a right of access to most land and inland water in Scotland, for walking, cycling and other non-motorised activities.

The updated National Performance Framework includes two National Indicators which aim to measure progress in this area. These are:

  • 'Visits to the outdoors', and
  • ‘Access to green and blue spaces’.

The second indicator was renamed from the previous National Performance Framework to reflect that access to blue spaces should also be included when considering the importance of accessibility to greenspace. Although the term “blue space” was not used in the 2017 SHS questionnaire, greenspace was defined to include a canal path, riverside or beach and as such the indicator will continue to be based on responses to this question in the survey.

Scottish Planning Policy (SPP)[67] and National Planning Framework 3 (NPF3)[68] aim to significantly enhance green infrastructure networks, particularly in and around Scotland’s cities and towns.

The section starts by looking at key factors and characteristics associated with outdoor visits for leisure and recreation purposes. This is followed by an exploration of the access and use of greenspace for adults in the local neighbourhood and their satisfaction with that greenspace.

10.4.2 Visits to the Outdoors

Outdoor visits for leisure and recreation purposes include visits to both urban and countryside open spaces (for example, parks, woodland, farmland, paths and beaches) for a range of purposes (such as walking, running, cycling or kayaking). The associated National Indicator is measured by the proportion of adults making one or more visits to the outdoors per week.

Fifty-two per cent of Scottish adults visited Scotland's outdoors at least once a week in 2017 compared to 48 per cent in 2016 (see Table 10.10). This is the first annual increase observed since 2013, with the figures up to 2016 being at around the same level. Just under a fifth of adults reported visiting the outdoors at least once a month while 12 per cent of adults reported that they did not visit the outdoors at all in 2017. In 2012, 20 per cent of adults reported not visiting the outdoors at all.

Table 10.10: Frequency of visits made to the outdoors
Column percentages

Adults 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
One or more times a week 42 46 48 49 48 52
At least once a month 19 20 19 20 20 19
At least once a year 20 18 17 17 18 17
Not at all 20 16 16 14 13 12
Base 9,890 9,920 9,800 9,410 9,640 9,810

There is a substantial variation in the proportion of adults making visits to the outdoors by level of area deprivation (Table 10.11). In the most deprived areas of Scotland, 41 per cent of adults visit the outdoors at least once a week, compared to 63 per cent of adults in the least deprived areas. Adults in the most deprived areas are also more likely not to have visited the outdoors at all in the past twelve months (20 per cent) compared to those in the least deprived areas (six per cent).

Table 10.11: Frequency of visits made to the outdoors by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
Column percentages, 2017 data

Adults ç 20% most deprived 20% least deprived è Scotland
1 2 3 4 5
One or more times per week 41 45 54 59 63 52
At least once a month 18 20 17 19 19 19
At least once a year 22 21 17 12 13 17
Not at all 20 14 12 10 6 12
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100
Base 1,820 1,960 2,140 2,080 1,810 9,810

Table 10.12 shows that adults living in rural areas are more likely to visit the outdoors at least once a week compared to adults living in urban areas (61 per cent compared to 51 per cent). These figures are both increases from 2016 (47 per cent urban and 55 per cent rural).

Table 10.12: Frequency of visits made to the outdoors in the past twelve months by Urban/Rural classification
Column percentages, 2017 data

Household Urban Rural Scotland
Once or more times a week 51 61 52
At least once a month 19 14 19
At least once a year 18 11 17
Not at all 12 14 12
Total 100 100 100
Base 7,790 2,020 9,810

The proportion of men visiting the outdoors at least once a week in 2017 (54 per cent) was higher than the proportion of women (51 per cent) (Table 10.13).

The age group with the highest proportion visiting the outdoors at least once a week is 35-44 (61 per cent). Thirty-two per cent of the over 75 age group report that they did not visit the outdoors at all in the past twelve months, which may reflect declining mobility and accessibility issues.

Table 10.13: Frequency of visits made to the outdoors in the past twelve months by gender and age group
Column percentages, 2017 data

Adults Male Female 16-24 25-34 35-44 45-59 60-74 75+ All
One or more times per week 54 51 55 55 61 53 51 32 52
At least once a month 19 18 18 22 20 20 16 13 19
At least once a year 16 17 18 15 13 17 17 23 17
Not at all 11 13 8 7 6 10 17 31 12
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100
Base 4,540 5,270 650 1,290 1,400 2,410 2,590 1,480 9,810

This is further reflected in the high proportion of those adults describing their health as either bad or very bad, who did not visit the outdoors at all in the last year (36 per cent). Conversely, 57 per cent of adults who describe their health as good or very good report that they visit the outdoors at least once a week (Table 10.14).

Table 10.14: Frequency of visits made to the outdoors in the past twelve months by self-perception of health
Column percentages, 2017 data

Adults Good / Very Good Fair Bad / Very Bad All
Once or more times a week 57 44 29 52
At least once a month 19 18 13 19
At least once a year 15 20 22 17
Not at all 8 18 36 12
Total 100 100 100 100
Base 6,860 2,050 880 9,810

10.4.3 Walking Distance to Local Greenspace

Accessibility of greenspace is an important factor in its use, both in terms of its proximity to people's homes and the ease of physical access. The accessibility standard is taken to be equivalent to a five minute walk to the nearest publicly usable open space, which is the measurement used for the National Indicator. Greenspace is defined in the SHS as public green or open spaces in the local area such as parks, play areas, canal paths, riversides and beaches (private gardens are not included).

Respondents are asked how far the nearest greenspace is from their home and how long they think it would take the interviewer to walk there.

In 2017, 65 per cent of adults reported living within a 5 minute walk of their nearest greenspace, unchanged from 2016 (see Figure 10.4). The earlier figures are 67 per cent in 2015, 69 per cent in 2014 and 68 per cent in 2013.

Figure 10.4: Walking distance to nearest greenspace
2017 data. Adults (base: 9,810)

Figure 10.4: Walking distance to nearest greenspace

10.4.4 Frequency of Use of Local Greenspace

As shown in Figure 10.5, there has been little change in how often local greenspace is used between 2016 and 2017. The question was added in 2012, and the figures are comparable back to 2013. In 2017, 37 per cent of adults reported visiting their nearest green space several times a week, while 23 per cent of adults reported not visiting their nearest greenspace at all during the same period. The figures are stable over time[69].

Figure 10.5: Frequency of use of nearest greenspace
2015 - 2017 data, Adults (minimum base: 9,300)

Figure 10.5: Frequency of use of nearest greenspace

Table 10.15 shows that a higher proportion of people who live within 5 minutes of their nearest greenspace report using it at least once a week compared to people who live a 6-10 minute walk away (46 per cent compared to 24 per cent). The proportion of people who live at least 11 minutes’ walk from their nearest greenspace and do not use it (39 per cent) is more than twice the corresponding proportion of people who live within 5 minutes’ walk (18 per cent).

Table 10.15: Frequency of use of nearest greenspace by walking distance to nearest greenspace
Column percentages, 2017 data

Adults A 5 minute walk or less Within a 6-10 minute walk An 11 minute walk or more All
Every day / Several times a week 46 24 13 37
Once a week or less 36 49 48 40
Not at all 18 27 39 23
Total 100 100 100 100
Base 6,210 1,960 1,480 9,660

As shown in Table 10.16, people’s perception of their own health has a significant impact on how often they visit their nearest greenspace. A higher proportion of people who describe their health as good or very good report using their nearest greenspace several times a week (40 per cent) than those who describe their health as bad or very bad (24 per cent). Furthermore a higher proportion of people who describe their health as bad or very bad report not visiting their nearest greenspace at all in the last 12 months (46 per cent) than those people describing their health as good or very good (19 per cent).

Table 10.16: Frequency of use of nearest greenspace by self-perception of health
Column percentages, 2017 data

Adults Good / Very Good Fair Bad / Very Bad All
Every day / Several times a week 40 29 24 37
Once a week or less 41 41 30 40
Not at all 19 30 46 23
Total 100 100 100 100
Base 6,780 2,010 840 9,660

10.4.5 Satisfaction with Local Greenspace

In order to be effective, greenspace needs to be viewed as suitable for use by the local population. If individuals feel that greenspace is unsafe, unclean or otherwise not fit for purpose then they may be less likely to make use of it.

Three quarters of adults described themselves as satisfied with their nearest greenspace in 2017, while only ten per cent were dissatisfied (see Figure 10.6). The question on satisfaction with the nearest greenspace was first included in 2012 and these figures are stable over time. The small number of adults who reported that they did not know the walking distance to their nearest greenspace are excluded from these figures.

Figure 10.6: Satisfaction with nearest greenspace
2017 data, Adults (base: 9,660)

Figure 10.6: Satisfaction with nearest greenspace

Table 10.17 shows that those who describe their neighbourhood as a fairly good or very good place to live are more satisfied with their local greenspace than those who rate their neighbourhood as a fairly poor or very poor place to live. This may be because higher levels of satisfaction with local greenspace contribute to a more favourable impression of the neighbourhood in general, or vice versa.

Table 10.17: Satisfaction with nearest greenspace by rating of neighbourhood as place to live
Column percentages, 2017 data

Adults Very good Fairly good Fairly poor Very poor No opinion Scotland
Satisfied/Fairly Satisfied 78 70 55 44 * 75
Neither Satisfied or Dissatisfied 9 12 14 16 * 10
Dissatisfied/Fairly Dissatisfied 7 12 23 32 * 9
No opinion 5 6 9 8 * 6
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100
Base 5,790 3,410 310 130 30 9,660

While those living closer to their nearest greenspace are more likely to use it more frequently, level of satisfaction with local greenspace does not have an ordinal interaction on the frequency of use (see Table 10.18). The proportion of those satisfied or fairly satisfied who use their greenspace every day or several days a week is higher than for the other satisfaction levels.

However a higher proportion of those who are dissatisfied or fairly dissatisfied use their greenspace more frequently than those who are neither satisfied or dissatisfied. It is possible that a number of those who report being neither satisfied or dissatisfied, or having no opinion, do so because they do not visit their nearest greenspace. These two categories have the highest proportions reporting that they do not use their nearest greenspace at all.

Table 10.18: Use of nearest greenspace by satisfaction with nearest greenspace
Column percentages, 2017 data

Adults Satisfied/ Fairly Satisfied Neither Satisfied or Dissatisfied Dissatisfied/ Fairly Dissatisfied No opinion All
Every day / Several times a week 43 19 33 0 37
Once a week or less 43 39 39 6 40
Not at all 14 41 28 92 23
Base 7,120 1,000 820 720 9,660

10.4.6 Greenspace by level of area deprivation

People’s distance from their nearest greenspace and their use and satisfaction of that space vary with the level of area deprivation. Table 10.19 shows that a greater proportion of adults in deprived areas live at least an 11 minute walk away from their nearest greenspace compared to adults in the least deprived areas (18 per cent compared to 12 per cent).

Table 10.19: Walking distance to nearest greenspace by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
Column percentages, 2017 data

Adults ← 20% most deprived 20% least deprived → Scotland
1 2 3 4 5
A 5 minute walk or less 58 64 66 67 68 65
Within a 6-10 minute walk 22 21 19 19 20 20
11 minute walk or greater 18 13 14 12 12 14
Don't Know 1 1 1 2 0 1
All 100 100 100 100 100 100
Base 1,820 1,960 2,140 2,080 1,810 9,810

Also, Table 10.20 shows that adults in the most deprived areas are less likely to be satisfied with their nearest greenspace than adults in the least deprived areas. This could lead to fewer people in deprived areas making use of their nearest greenspace, as people are more likely to use greenspace if it is close by and of good quality.

Table 10.20: Satisfaction of nearest greenspace by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
Column percentages, 2017 data

Adults ← 20% most deprived   20% least deprived → Scotland
1 2 3 4 5
Satisfied/Fairly Satisfied 64 70 74 77 83 74
Neither Satisfied or Dissatisfied 14 11 12 9 7 11
Dissatisfied/Fairly Dissatisfied 14 13 9 7 6 10
No opinion 7 6 6 7 4 6
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100
Base 1,780 1,920 2,120 2,040 1,790 9,660

This is supported by the figures in Table 10.21. Adults in the most deprived areas are more likely than adults in the least deprived areas not to have used their nearest greenspace in the past 12 months (31 per cent compared to 17 per cent). Adults in more deprived areas are also less likely to use their nearest greenspace several times a week compared to adults in less deprived areas.

Table 10.21: Frequency of use of nearest greenspace by Scottish Index of Multiple Deprivation
Column percentages, 2017 data

Adults ← 20% most deprived   20% least deprived → Scotland
1 2 3 4 5
Every day / Several times a week 30 31 39 42 41 37
Once a week or less 39 44 39 37 42 40
Not at all 31 25 22 21 17 23
Total 100 100 100 100 100 100
Base 1,780 1,920 2,120 2,040 1,790 9,660

10.5 Participation in Land Use decisions

The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 recognises the importance of land in realising people’s human rights. This is reflected in the principles of the Scottish Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement[70]. In particular Principle 4 states that:

“The holders of land rights should exercise these rights in ways that take account of their responsibilities to meet high standards of land ownership, management and use. Acting as the stewards of Scotland's land resource for future generations they contribute to sustainable growth and a modern, successful country.”

Principle 6 further states

“There should be greater collaboration and community engagement in decisions about land.”

This recognises that participation in land use decisions is important in giving communities more control over the land where they live and work. In April 2018 the Scottish Government published its Guidance on Engaging Communities in Decisions Relating to Land[71], which sets out the responsibilities of those with control over land, both owners and tenants, in terms of engaging with communities about decisions relating to land.

10.5.1 Participation in land use decisions

The SHS 2017 gave a list of possible ways people could have used to give their views on land use decisions, which are given in Table 10.22. In 2017, 15 per cent of adults reported that they gave their views on land use in at least one of these ways, the same proportion as in 2015.

The most common way in which people report giving their views on land use is by signing a petition (seven per cent of adults) and the least common is through discussions with a land owner or land manager (two per cent of adults). This may be because signing a petition does not require much effort and is more likely to be about an issue affecting a larger number of people. Having a discussion with a land owner or manager, on the other hand, requires more time and effort and is more likely to be about an issue affecting fewer individuals in that specific area (smaller area issues).

Table 10.22: Percentage of people who gave their views on land use in the last twelve months
Column percentages, 2015 and 2017 data

Adults 2015 2017
Signed a petition 7 7
Attended a public meeting/ community council meeting 5 5
Took part in a consultation or a survey 5 5
Responded to a planning application 4 4
Been involved with interest group or campaign 3 3
Contacted an MP, MSP or Local Councillor 4 3
Had discussions with a landowner/land-manager 2 2
None of the above 85 85
Base 9,410 9,810

As shown in Table 10.23, a greater proportion of adults living in rural areas report giving their views on land use compared to adults living in urban areas (20 per cent compared to 14 per cent). The proportions in 2017 are very similar to 2015.

Table 10.23: Percentage of people who gave their views on land use by Urban/Rural classification[72]
Column Percentages, 2015 and 2017 data

Adults Urban Rural All
2015 14 21 15
Base 7,430 1,980 9,410
2017 14 20 15
Base 7,790 2,020 9,810

Contact

Emma McCallum