Survey Shows Link Between Litter, Deprivation And Crime

Environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy has today (13 November) published the results of the annual Local Environment Quality Survey of England, showing that poor levels of street cleanliness are associated with increases in other low-level crime and social disorder. 

The survey, which is carried out by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of Defra, also shows that those who live in the poorest places in England tend to have the dirtiest streets.

Although, overall, across England litter levels are at or above an “acceptable standard” on 89 percent of sites, this is not the whole story, according to Keep Britain Tidy.

In the least deprived areas, only three percent of sites fall below an acceptable standard for litter but this percentage rises to 28 percent in the most deprived areas – nine times worse.

The survey also shows that the places that have the lowest levels of litter, fly-posting and graffiti are also those least at risk from crime.

Environment Minister Dan Rogerson – “While we have made great progress in recent years, this research shows there is still more to be done. I hope local authorities consider these results as they work to keep our neighbourhoods clean and tidy”

The overall presence of crime is far greater on streets where litter, graffiti and fly-posting are present, according to the charity’s Local Environment Quality Survey of England.

Environment Minister Dan Rogerson said of the report: ”Litter has a huge impact on the quality of our streets and public spaces and we all have a responsibility to keep our communities tidy. Government is introducing a charge on plastic bags and supporting initiatives such as the National Litter Prevention Commitment. This encourages business to reduce litter through improved product design and labelling for consumers.

Top ten litter types present over time. Click to enlarge

“While we have made great progress in recent years, this research shows there is still more to be done. I hope local authorities consider these results as they work to keep our neighbourhoods clean and tidy.”

Crime linked to fly-posting and graffiti in 2013/14. Click to enlarge

Keep Britain Tidy runs programmes and campaigns that aim to improve the places people live and work.

Its activities, including the Big Tidy Up, Green Flag Awards, Blue Flag Awards and Eco-Schools help communities to understand and care for their environment and encourage the very highest standards of environmental management.

Keep Britain Tidy chief executive Phil Barton said: “Our earlier research pointed to what we have always instinctively known – that more deprived areas suffer from poorer environmental quality. This report confirms it clearly and irrefutably.

“As a charity, we believe that everyone has the right to live in place of which they can be proud and this report shows that for some people this is quite definitely not the case.

“It is clear that social inequality extends to the quality of people’s surroundings and we know that if places are dirty and look “unloved” this can adversely impact on individuals’ health and wellbeing.

“This report should act as a wake-up call to action for everyone who has a role to play in improving our environment at its most basic level – outside our own front doors.”

The report also shows that litter across England has reduced over the past 12 years, with an improvement of four percentage points in sites deemed to be acceptable for litter in 2013/14 compared to 2001/02 when the survey first began.

Statistical analysis shows that litter across England has reduced over the past 12 years, with an improvement of four percentage points in sites deemed to be acceptable for litter in 2013/14 compared to 2001/02 when the survey first began.

The full LEQSE report is available here.


 

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