Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

ENGLAND'S QUALITY OF LIFE BAROMETER RISING IN SOME REGIONS FASTER THAN OTHERS

  • Comment
A picture of regional life in England reveals some regions making ...
A picture of regional life in England reveals some regions making

faster progress than others on social, economic and environmental

issues, according to a DEFRA report published today.

Progress towards sustainable development in areas such as economic

output, employment, tackling poverty and social exclusion,

educational attainment, and air and river water quality, is being

made in all the regions, according to results for the English regions

in 'Regional Quality of Life Counts'.

Minister for the countryside environment, Elliot Morley pointed out

that it is not simply a matter of north and south when analysing a

full regional picture.

The regional versions of the government's national headline

indicators of sustainable development provide a Quality of Life

barometer across the regions, delivering a regional perspective on

how much progress has been made in people's everyday concerns like

health, jobs, crime, air quality, road traffic, housing, educational

achievement, economic prosperity, and other areas like wildlife.

Mr Morley said:

'Today's report shows some differences between regions and I am not

denying there are, in some cases, large variations. But no single

region is better or worse than all the others across all the

indicators. In every region there are headline issues where

significant progress has been made and other issues where progress

has been slower.

'Our aim in government, is for all parts of the country to develop

sustainably. Significantly, for all but one of the indicators -

woodland bird populations in the Wildlife indicator - every region is

moving in the same direction as the national trends. So all regions

are benefiting from the advances we are already beginning and

continuing to see in many areas like educational achievement,

employment, rising economic output .

'The government's long-term regional ambition is to reduce

differences in economic prosperity between the regions. We want to

continue to raise the rate of sustainable economic growth in the UK.

'The environment we live in has also been improving. Urban air

quality has improved significantly since 1993 following tighter

emission and fuel standards for vehicles and industrial and domestic

emissions, and the improvements can be seen at monitoring sites

across all the regions. The quality of our rivers has also improved

in all regions over the last ten years.

'This is not about producing regional league tables. Indeed for many

issues there will be greater disparities within regions than between

regions. Regional performance in education for example, masks wide

variations in achievement between different local areas.

'Each region will have its own priorities and it is important to note

that the regions have developed their own sustainable development

strategies.

'In the national strategy the government is committed to the national

headline indicators moving in the right direction, and today's

regional versions help to identify where additional effort will be

required... ' We are working for a common goal - a better quality of

life for all.'

NOTES

Findings in today's report include:

- A monitoring site in London Brent has the highest urban, background

air pollution of the English regions, Redcar in the North-East with

the highest suburban air pollution and Lullington Heath and

Rochester in the South East with highest rural pollution (expressed

as averages for 2000 and 2001) (see page 34 of report)

- Newcastle has the lowest urban centre air pollution and Sutton in

London the lowest roadside air pollution (2000 and 2001 averages)

(page 34)

- In terms of biological quality, on average there has been an 8

percentage point increase in the number of river lengths of good or

fair quality in England. London has shown a 34 percentage point

increase from 1990 to 2000. (page 39)

- Before housing costs, 25 per cent of children in London were living

in relatively low income households in 2000/1, just below the

average for England. After housing costs, this rises to 41 per

cent, compared to the average for England of 30 per cent and

highlights the effect of high housing costs in London when compared

to the rest of the country.

- One indicator where some regions have varied from the national

trend is for woodland bird populations, which DEFRA use to

illustrate trends in Wildlife. Nationally the woodland bird

population index has declined by 21 per cent since 1970, but in the

north and midlands, populations have in recent years increased,

whilst continuing to decline in southern regions. These results are

provisional and DEFRA is doing further research to understand the

reasons for these different trends. Whilst the trend for woodland

birds varies the trend for farmland birds is consistently downwards

in the regions for which the indicator has been produced and the

most rapid decline occurred between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s.

REGIONAL QUALITY OF LIFE COUNTS - RESULTS FOR THE ENGLISH REGIONS

Regional versions of the government's national headline indicators of

sustainable development were published by DEFRA today.

The second edition of Regional quality of life counts provides

updated regional figures and analysis for 13 of the 15 headline

indicators, for each of the English Government Office Regions, and in

some cases for Wales. This release focuses on the key results for the

English Government Office Regions.

The headline indicators aim to provide a Quality of life barometer on

progress in people's everyday concerns like health, jobs, crime, air

quality, traffic, housing, educational achievement, wildlife and

economic prosperity.

The report helps to provide a regional perspective to the headline

indicators and to allow comparisons between regions and with progress

nationally. It includes for the first time regional farmland and

woodland bird population indicators.

Key findings

- Every region has shown improvement in a number of areas during the

last decade.

- For all but one of the indicators, every region is moving in the

same direction as the national headline trends. The exception is

for woodland bird populations, which have increased in the north

and midlands, but continue to decline in the southern regions.

- There is no single region that is in the best or worst position for

all of the headline indicators.

- For every region there are areas where they are in a better

position and areas where they are in a worse position, relative to

other regions.

Findings for each indicator (more details are given in the report)

Economic

H1 Economic Output - Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per head Highest:

London, South East and East

Lowest: North East Largest increase since 1990: South East, East and

London Smallest increase since 1990: North East and North West

H2 Investment - manufacturing investment as a percentage of

manufacturing output Highest: North East and North West Lowest:

London and East Midlands

H3 Employment - percentage of working age people in work Highest:

East, South East and South West. Lowest: North East

Largest increase since 1992: South West, South East and West Midlands

Smallest increase since 1992: Yorkshire and the Humber

Social

H4 Poverty and Social Exclusion - four selected indicators

- percentage of working age people in workless households

Lowest: South East and East Highest: North East and London Largest

decrease since 1996: South West and North West Smallest decrease

since 1996: North East and East Midlands

- percentage of working age people with no qualifications

Lowest: South West and South East Highest: West Midlands and North

East Largest decrease since 1996: West Midlands, South West and North

West Smallest decrease since 1996: London

- percentage of children living in households with relatively low income, after

housing costs

Lowest: South East and East Highest: North East, West Midlands and

London

- percentage of single elderly households experiencing fuel poverty

Lowest: East, South East and London Highest: North East, North West

and Yorkshire and the Humber

H5 Education - percentage of 19 year-olds with NVQ level 2

qualifications

There is only slight variation between regions.

Highest: South West, South East and East Lowest: West Midlands and

Yorkshire and the Humber Largest increase since 1996: East Midlands

and East Smallest increase since 1996: South West and London

H6 Health - life expectancy (years)

- males

Highest: East, South East and South West Lowest: North East and North

West

- females

Highest: South West, South East and East Lowest: North East and North

West

H7 Housing - percentage of households living in non-decent housing

A regional indicator is not currently available. New data will be

available when the results from the English House Condition Survey

are released later this year.

H8 Crime

- recorded violent crime per 100,000 population

Lowest: East Highest: London

- recordedburglaries per 100,000 population

Lowest: East and South East Highest: Yorkshire and the Humber and

North West Largest decrease since 1990: North East No change since

1990: Yorkshire and the Humber and East Midlands

- recorded theft of or from a vehicle per 100,000 population

Lowest: East Highest: London, Yorkshire and the Humber and North West

Largest decrease since 1990: North East Smallest decrease since 1990:

London and South East

Environment

H9 Climate Change - emissions of greenhouse gases A regional

indicator is not available.

H10 Air Quality - days when air pollution is moderate or higher

It is not possible to provide regional averages because there are too

few monitoring sites in some regions. The report provides figures for

individual sites.

H11 Road Traffic - percentage increase in road traffic

Smallest increase since 1990: London Largest increase since 1990:

East Midlands, Yorkshire and the Humber and the North East

H12 River water quality - percentage of river lengths of good or fair

quality

- chemical quality

Highest: North East and South West Lowest: London Largest increase

since 1990: North West, East Midlands

- biological quality

Highest: South West, South East and East Lowest: London and North

West

Largest increase since 1990: London and North West

H13 Wildlife - population indices of wild birds

- woodland species

Increase since 1970: North East, North West, Yorkshire and the

Humber, East Midlands and West Midlands Decline since 1970: East,

South East and South West

- farmland species

Decline since 1970: East, South East, North West and South West No

data available for other regions

H14 Land Use - percentage of new homes built on previously developed

land

Highest: London Lowest: East Midlands and South West Based on a

comparison between the 1989-1993 average and 1997-2000 average there

were similar increases across the regions, with the exception of the

East Midlands, South West and North East regions, where there was no

change.

H15 Waste - total household waste (kg per person)

Lowest: London and the North East Highest: North West and South East

No change since 1998/9: East Smallest increase since 1998/9: South

West and East Midlands Largest increase since 1998/9: Yorkshire and

the Humber, North West and West Midlands

Most recycled or composted: South East, South West and East

Least recycled or composted: North East and Yorkshire and the Humber

Largest increase since 1998/9: East Midlands and West Midlands

Smallest increase since 1998/9: South West

Notes to editors

1. The Government's 15 headline indicators are a 'quality of life

barometer' measuring everyday concerns like housing development,

health, jobs, air quality, educational achievement, wildlife and

economic prosperity. They are intended to focus public attention on

what sustainable development means and to give a broad overview of

whether we are 'achieving a better quality of life for everyone, now

and for generations to come'.

2. For eachheadline indicator the report provides regional figures

in a chart, accompanied by tables and allows comparisons between

regions and with the national equivalent figures. Where possible the

regional indicators are comparable with the national headline

indicators. However, in some cases a proxy indicator has had to be

used owing to data availability. The report also includes a chapter

that analyses all the indicators for each individual region. The

report updates the first edition of Regional quality of life counts

[1]. The report includes new figures for regional wild bird

populations published on 11 June 2002 [2]

3. Regional quality of life counts - 2001 is available free on

request from DEFRA Publications, Admail 6000, London SW1A 2XX,

Telephone: 08459 556000, Fax: 020 8957 5012 or Email:

defra@iforcegroup.com.

4. A leaflet, the Quality of Life Barometer, summarising progress in

all the headline indicators, is issued periodically to coincide with

the update of one of the indicators or other key publications. For

copies of the Quality of Life Barometer leaflet please telephone: 020

7944 6518.

5. The Government annual report on sustainable development 2001 -

Achieving a better quality of life - was published on 13 March 2002

[3]. The report includes an assessment of progress against each of

the 15 headline indicators and briefly discusses strategic

developments, the principles and approaches underlying sustainable

development and action on priorities.

6. The headline indicators together with over 130 other indicators of

sustainable development were first published in Quality of life

counts [4]. These indicators provide a baseline assessment for

monitoring and reporting on future progress towards economic, social

and environmentally sustainable development as set out in the

Government's sustainable development strategy for the UK A better

quality of life. [5].

7. The sustainable development website (www.sustainable-

development.gov.uk) contains the new edition of Regional quality of

life counts, the latest versions of the national headline indicators,

and all of the publications mentioned above.

A National Statistics publication

National Statistics are produced to high professional standards set

out in the National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular

quality assurance reviews to ensure they meet customer needs.

[1] Regional quality of life counts. DETR, 2000, London.

[2] Publication of regional wild bird populations - press release:

www.defra.gov.uk/news/2002/020611a.htm

[3] Achieving a better quality of life - Review of progress towards

sustainable development - Government annual report 2001. DEFRA, 2002,

London

[4] Quality of life counts: Indicators for a strategy for sustainable

development for the United Kingdom. DETR, 1999, London (ISBN 1 85112

343 1).

[5] A better quality of life: a strategy for sustainable development

in the UK. TSO, 1999 (ISBN 0 10 143452 9).

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions.

Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.