It is commonly accepted that the quality of the local environment in can affect the health and wellbeing of communities. In particular, it is often linked to the level of affluence in local neighbourhoods. South Derbyshire District Council’s assessment of deprivation figures identified the Newhall and Stanton ward as having increasing levels of deprivation on a number of key indicators, with environmental issues highlighted as being of significant concern.
To further understand and assist in reducing the level of environmental deprivation, the council commissioned M·E·L Research to carry out a range of research activities to measure six key aspects: dog fouling, detritus, litter, weeds, graffiti and fly posting. Firstly, Local Environment Quality (LEQ) surveys were undertaken before a dog fouling communication campaign, using transect assessments following NI95 guidelines. The LEQ surveys were then carried out post campaign, to assess any changes in the local environment. In addition, a residents perception survey was carried out post-campaign to see what aspects had improved and how problematic they were to residents’ day to day lives. In order to gain a broad socio-demographic spread throughout the ward, a maximum of 5 surveys were completed per street.
The analysis carried out compared both the pre and post LEQ surveys to the resident perception study. It was found that residents rated some aspects lower than the actual LEQ transect assessments. A key finding was that the level of dog fouling had deteriorated, and it was also rated as a key measure that affected residents day to day lives. In order to gain further insight, hot-spot mapping was carried out by M·E·L Research to pinpoint areas which were particularly problematic.