Publication - Statistics

Scottish natural capital: ecosystem service accounts 2019

This publication, prepared by the Office of National Statistics (ONS), presents estimates of the quantity and value of ten services being supplied by Scottish natural capital.

57 page PDF

1.3 MB

57 page PDF

1.3 MB

Supporting files

Contents
Scottish natural capital: ecosystem service accounts 2019
7. Cultural services

57 page PDF

1.3 MB

Supporting files

7. Cultural services

This section presents the cultural service of nature providing recreational opportunities. Other cultural services are also provided by natural capital in Scotland, such as aesthetic appreciation and heritage value. These additional cultural service accounts are not yet developed and further work is needed to clarify where non-recreational cultural services are truly additional to what is accounted for under recreational services.

Outdoor recreation

The recreation estimates were produced using the Scottish Recreation Survey (ScRS), which ran between 2003 and 2012. Spending and time per visit estimates beyond 2012 were fixed at 2012 levels and multiplied by visit numbers from the Scotland’s People and Nature Survey (SPANS), which ran in 2013 to 2014 and 2017 to 2018. Time periods presented alter throughout this section in accordance with data availability.

Currently, habitat breakdowns of recreation are provided up to 2012 but we will seek to fully incorporate SPANS data for more timely estimates in the future. More information on the surveys and methods used are available in Section 9 of this article. 

The UK estimates of recreation are scaled from the Monitor of Engagement with the Natural Environment Survey (MENE) to represent the UK population. Therefore, since UK estimates did not include Scottish, Welsh, or Northern Ireland surveys, comparisons between Scottish and UK values are, in effect, comparisons with inflated English trends. We will seek to fully incorporate additional surveys, such as ScRS and SPANS, in future UK estimations of outdoor recreation.

It is worth noting that these surveys focus on short day-trips from home and miss out potentially large amounts of spending on outdoor activity from domestic tourism, which future reports will include.

Between 2004 and 2017, time spent on Scottish outdoor recreation (excluding travel time) increased 94%, from 412 million hours to 798 million hours respectively. This trend was driven by visitor numbers, which increased 168%, from 204 million visits to 547 million visits over the same period. Average time spent per visit during this period decreased from 2 hours in 2004 to 1 hour and 28 minutes in 2012. 

Figure 21 shows two periods in which outdoor recreation increased consistently: 2004 to 2007 (time spent increased 52% and visit numbers increased 91%) and 2012 to 2017. In 2008, despite increasing visitor numbers, time spent dropped 5% to 596 million hours due to average time spent per visit decreasing by 8 minutes.

Time spent on outdoor recreation increased to a high of 798 million hours in 2017. This is likely to be a conservative estimate as we used the, relatively low, 2012 ScRS average time spent per visit with SPANS visitor numbers. There were 214 million more Scottish visits to the outdoors in 2017 than 2012. 

Figure 21: Between 2004 and 2017 the time spent on outdoor recreation in Scotland increased 94%

Outdoor recreation time spent and number of visits, Scotland, 2004 to 2017

Figure 21: Between 2004 and 2017 the time spent on outdoor recreation in Scotland increased 94%

Source: Office for National Statistics and Scottish National Heritage

Comparing Scotland with overall UK figures, Scotland accounted for 13% of estimated UK time spent in outdoor recreation during 2017. The average person in Scotland took 121 outdoor recreation visits in 2017, 46% higher than the UK average of 83.

The average time spent per visit is similar across the UK (4 minutes longer in Scotland in 2017), but Scotland’s greater per head visit frequency leads to an average time spent per adult (over 16 years old) on outdoor recreation 62 hours higher in Scotland than the UK average (177 hours and 115 hours respectively).

Across the available comparable time series (2009 to 2017), time spent per head on outdoor recreation in Scotland was consistently higher than the UK, averaging 142 hours and 86 hours respectively. Scottish adults on average spent 65% more time on outdoor recreation than the UK average (2009 to 2017). 

In Scotland, outdoor activities in cities and towns (urban) were the most common between 2004 and 2012 (37% of time spent, or 182 million hours), followed by the beach (listed as coastal margins 17%), then woodland (14%). 

The 2000s saw Scotland move towards a “little and often” approach to outdoor recreation. Across all habitats (but farmland), visit length shortened but increased in number. For most habitats the increasing number of visits outweighed declining visit times to drive growth in overall time spent outdoors. Woodland and lochs (including reservoirs) were the exception to the general trend as the only habitats with a net decline in total time spent between 2004 and 2012. 

The Scottish population lingered longest when visiting inland lochs (average 2 hours and 59 minutes for a visit, 2004 to 2012). Loch visits were 79% longer than the average (1 hour and 40 minutes). Visits (and other activities) in the mountains and moors were almost as long as lochs, with an average time spent per visit of 2 hours and 42 minutes (61% higher than the average 2004 to 2012). 

Like Scotland, in the UK between 2009 and 2012, visits to urban outdoor areas represented the largest proportion of overall time spent (41%). Scottish visitors remained longer in woodlands, farms, and towns and cities (urban) than the average UK visitor between 2009 and 2012 (78%, 34% and 25% more time spent per visit on average respectively). A trip to the beach took similar amounts of time across the UK, with only 1 minute extra spent in Scotland than in the UK average (1 hour and 59 minutes Scotland and 1 hour and 58 minutes UK for coastal margins). 

Between 2004 and 2017, spending on outdoor recreation in Scotland increased 78% from £755.7 million to £1,346.1 million. This is due to increases in visit numbers, noted in the SPANS dataset, with spend per visit fixed at 2012 levels.

Figure 22: Total expenditure on outdoor recreation declined by 23% in 2008, recovering in following years

Expenditure on outdoor recreation, Scotland, 2004 to 2017

Figure 22: Total expenditure on outdoor recreation declined by 23% in 2008, recovering in following years

Source: Office for National Statistics and Scottish Natural Heritage

Figure 22 shows, for the years in which we can directly observe spending (2004 to 2012), consistent increases up to 2007 are followed by a clear drop then slower growth. Between 2004 and 2007, spending on outdoor recreation increased (28%), peaking at £967.2 million in 2007. After 2007, in 2008 a £0.63 (26%) drop in average expenditure per visit drove overall expenditure decline. After 2009 total expenditure recovered, with increasing spending per visit,but still lower than 2004 to 2007. 

Before 2007, an increasing percentage of visitors spent nothing on a trip – up from 63% in 2004 to 72% in 2007, despite 2007 representing a total spending high point. Across the sample, on average, 71% of outdoor recreation visits were enjoyed for free. Interestingly the proportion of visits where nothing was spent fell from 72% in 2007 to 68% in 2008 as total spend fell. The 23% (£222.7 million) decrease in spending in 2008 also happened despite a 3.3% increase in visit numbers.

The main drive of the fall was in public transport spending (transport fares), down £117 million (negative 59%). Fuel costs also fell by £77 million (negative 12%), car parking expenditure dropped by £28 million (negative 12%) and admissions spending stayed steady. As shown in figure 22, fuel costs consistently represented the majority of spending accross the time series, on average making up 78.2% of total expenditure between 2004 and 2012. 

In 2017, UK outdoor recreation was valued at £6,670 million; Scottish visits are estimated at 20% of this (£1,346 million). Between 2009 and 2017, the value of UK recreation decreased 10% from £7,410 million. In this same period, the value of Scottish outdoor recreation is estimated to have increased 87% from £721 million in 2009 to £1,346 million in 2017. 

Average spend per visit on outdoor recreation in Scotland was £2.24 between 2009 and 2012, which was comparable to the UK (£2.27). In the UK expenditure per visit decreased 31% from £2.18 in 2009 to £1.50 in 2017. However, in Scotland expenditure per visit increased 29%, from £1.91 in 2009 to £2.46 in 2012.

Figures 23 and 24 show that Scotland spends more time and money in the outdoorsper person than the UK. Scottish spending per visit was £0.26 lower than the UK in 2009 but grew to overtake the UK in 2011 and was £0.22 higher in 2012.  Based upon spend per visit in 2012, by 2017 the average person in Scotland spent over double (£299) the UK average (£124), driven by more visits per person and spending per visit.

Figure 23: The average Scottish person spent more money on outdoor recreation than the UK average 

Annual expenditure per capita on outdoor recreation, Scotland and UK, 2009 to 2017

Figure 23: The average Scottish person spent more money on outdoor recreation than the UK average 

Source: Office for National Statistics and Scottish Natural Heritage

Figure 24: The average Scottish person spends more time in the outdoors than the UK average

Annual time spent per capita on outdoor recreation, Scotland and UK, 2009 to 2017

Figure 24: The average Scottish person spends more time in the outdoors than the UK average

Source: Office for National Statistics and Scottish Natural Heritage

For the years in which we have data (2004 to 2012) the accross habitats in Scotland was variable but individual habitat trends were relatively stable. Mirroring visitor numbers, urban and coastal margins habitats saw the largest average annual expenditure (£209 million and £199 million respectively). However, while woodland was the third most-visited habitat, on average more money was spent on visits to mountain and moorland annually, at £123 million compared with £108 million for woodland. On average, between 2004 and 2012, expenditure per visit was greatest for visits to mountain and moorland (£6.14), followed by visits to lochs (and reservoirs) (£5.92) and coastal margin (£4.51). Despite having the largest overall expenditure, visits to urban had the lowest expenditure per visit (£1.28).

As with Scotland, between 2009 and 2012, the UK average expenditure was greatest in urban (£2,300 million), followed by coastal margins (£1,600 million). In contrast to Scotland, UK outdoor recreation expenditure in mountain and moorland was the smallest of the broad habitats (£230 million). UK annual expenditure per head in mountain and moorland was £4.50 between 2009 and 2012, as opposed to £31.21 in Scotland. 


Contact

Email: natural.capital.team@ons.gov.uk