Scotland's Wellbeing: national outcomes for disabled people

Analysis of the National Performance Framework (NPF) outcome indicators from the perspective of disability.

7. Environment 

We value, enjoy, protect and enhance our environment

What we know:

  • Disabled people are less likely to regularly visit the outdoors.   

National outcome

This outcome involves taking a bold approach to enhancing, planning and protecting our natural assets and heritage and ensuring that all communities can engage with and benefit from nature and green space. It aims at environmental justice with an advanced recycling culture alongside sustainable and integrated land and transport planning, sustainable technology, carbon reduction and high biodiversity, using resources wisely to preserve resources for future generations.

National Performance Indicators

Seven of the eight environmental indicators do not measure individuals. These are: 

  • State of historic sites (The percentage of pre-1919 dwellings (sites) classified as having disrepair to critical elements).
  • Condition of protected nature sites (Percentage of natural features on protected nature sites found to be in favourable condition). 
  • Energy from renewable sources (Percentage of energy consumption which is renewable energy). 
  • Waste generated (The amount of household waste generated in million tonnes). 
  • Sustainability of Fish Stocks (The percentage of fish stocks fished sustainably). 
  • Biodiversity (Index of abundance of terrestrial breeding birds)
  • Clean seas (The percentage of biogeographic regions with acceptably low levels of containments).

Access to the environment is measured at an individual level, and figures are broken down by disability status:  

  • Visits to the outdoors (Proportion of adults making one or more visits to the outdoors per week).

Visits to the Outdoors 

The SHS provides data on how often individuals visit the outdoors. Among disabled people, 40% visited the outdoors at least once a week in 2017. This has increased from 33% in 2013. By comparison, 56% of those with no long-term illness or disability visited the outdoors at least once a week, and 61% of those with non-limiting long-term conditions did so. 

Alternative Indicators 

Research has been conducted by the Scottish Government on access to outdoor recreation by older people in Scotland.[35] This has indicated that there are multiple barriers which may restrict access to the environment among this group. One of the key categories of barriers identified with this group was poor health and mobility, which is consistent with the higher incidence of long-term health conditions among older people referred discussed earlier in this report. There are a number of ongoing projects in Scotland concerned with improving access to the outdoors for people with disabilities. For example, the Forestry Commission has recently carried out reviews of its paths and taken steps to improve their accessibility.[36]



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