The Sustainable Development Strategy for the UK, ‘Securing the future' set out a commitment to set up a website to enable any member of public to enter their postcode and find out facts about their local environment.
As part of pursuing that commitment, on January 26 2006, Environment Secretary, Margaret Beckett, announced an expansion of the Local Environment Quality Survey for England (LEQSE) which wiil make it the most detailed ever, and will see all the information available online - and eventually down to postcode level. The survey will be carried out by the ‘Keep Britain Tidy' campaign. Over the course of the next two years, all districts in England will be scrutinised on everything from the number of weed-ridden and litter-strewn streets, to the quality of the litter bin collections.
A 2003/04 MORI poll placed clean streets third - behind only low levels of crime and health services - in a survey of what makes somewhere a ‘good place to live'. Public opinion surveys have shown that people living in deprived areas are just as concerned about the environment as other people, and listed pollution, poor public transport and the appearance of their neighbourhoods as major concerns (Social Exclusion Unit 1998).
Mrs Beckett said: "There has been a real change in public behaviour thanks to campaigns and education, with more people than ever taking notice, and care, of their surroundings. However, there continues to be a minority who have little respect for neither their neighbourhood nor their neighbours." Last year's Local Environment Quality Survey of England (LEQSE) involving 12,000 sites, found Drinks litter had risen by 65% and fast food litter by 450% since 2001. For full details see www.encams.org
Further information on Local Environmental Quality is available from the LEQ website: www.defra.gov.uk/environment/localenv/index.htm
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- Defra news release, January 26 2006