One million Scots living in ‘dirty communities’

Environmental quality standards across Scotland have reached their lowest point for a decade, with one million people living in ‘dirty communities’, a new report has warned.

The report by the charity Keep Scotland Beautiful claims there has been a marked increase in the presence of litter, fly-tipping and graffiti in communities across the country over the last 18 months.

Although, the report states has been a reduction in dog fouling nationally, the gap between the indicators for litter, fly-tipping and graffiti in the most deprived and the most affluent communities is widening.

And more than a million people in Scotland are now living in places where local environmental quality is declining more rapidly than the national average.

The report is based on data from over 14,000 surveys across Scotland.

It also found those who perceive their local environment to be poor are more likely to report poorer physical and mental health and poor local environmental quality also negatively impacts economic development at a national and local level.

‘It is clear that the current disjointed approach is simply not working,’ said Keep Scotland Beautiful chief executive, Derek Robertson.

‘Improving local environmental quality is not just about reducing litter levels and removing graffiti,’ added Mr Robertson. ‘There are wider consequences of living in a poor local environment. It impacts on health and wellbeing outcomes, contributes towards people’s fear of crime and negatively impacts economic development.

“As a country which places great emphasis on the quality of our environment, we are calling for national and local action, to ensure that we do not stand by and watch whilst standards continue to decline to the point of no return.

‘We recognise that responding to declining local environmental quality is a challenge, and we are particularly sympathetic for hard pressed local authorities which are having to make increasingly difficult decisions on how budgets are prioritised.

‘This is why we are calling for environmental quality to be given priority attention by all of those with a part to play in the solution. From changing the behaviour of those in our society who act irresponsibly and create the problem, to taking political leadership and shared strategic action to formulate a new national plan that will reverse Scotland’s environmental decline,’ added Mr Robertson.

‘It is well established that that local environmental quality is linked to poorer health and wellbeing outcomes, as well as impacting on community safety and economic development in local communities. We are calling for political leadership to improve the outcomes and determined national action to reverse the decline in standards.’

Photo by marsupium photography

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Jamie Hailstone

Jamie Hailstone

journalist

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