It is widely accepted that the environment in which individuals live can affect the health and wellbeing of the entire local community. Local authorities are responsible for maintaining the quality of their local environment, and with the ever increasing budgetary cuts in services, understanding what is being done well and areas requiring improvement is of vital importance so that funds are best allocated. Therefore, it is vital to assess satisfaction levels with key aspects of the local environment as it provides local authorities with valuable information to help improve services and the wellbeing of local residents where its most needed.
Since 2012, Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council has commissioned M·E·L Research to carry out their Streetscene surveys in 3 phases in selected wards to gather residents’ feedback on the quality of the local area. Residents are provided with a showcard depicting local environmental quality illustrations and were asked to grade each from A (very good) to D (very poor), following *NI95 guidelines. The key aspects rated are litter, road sweeping, bedding, hedging & shrubs, litter bins, grass-cutting, fly-posting and graffiti. In addition, residents are asked to rate various waste services such as recycling, garden waste, refuse collections and the Household Recycling Centre. To gain a broad socio-demographic spread throughout the wards a maximum of 5 surveys are completed per street.
The outcomes highlight key aspects that required attention and compared this to each of the wards surveyed. Lower ratings are generally found to be associated with higher levels of deprivation. The phased survey approach allows trend tracker analysis and the results are fed into developing the councils environmental strategy.