Environmental factors

From a 2007 Environment Agency paper that aimed to define the 50 ‘worst places’ in the country (by combining environmental indicators with the IMD2004), here’s a list of environment-related issues that have been linked to deprivation in various research (citations in document):

Air quality – for five key pollutants, the highest concentrations are found in the most deprived wards. The social distribution of NO2 is typical, estimating that people in the 10% most deprived wards are typically exposed to concentrations 41% higher than wards of average deprivation. However, it is also noteworthy that it is suggest that the least deprived wards experience slightly more exposure than wards of average deprivation.

Integrated Pollution Control (IPC) sites – Research by the Environment Agency (Walker et al, 2003) and Friends of the Earth (2001) demonstrates that deprived communities are more likely to live near industrial sites. In the FoE research, it was estimated that 66% of carcinogenic emissions occur in the 10% most deprived wards, compared to just 8% in the 50% least deprived wards combined.

Flood risk – There is a strong relationship between deprivation and the sea flooding; there are disproportionate concentrations of the most deprived populations in zones at risk from sea flooding, particularly in Yorkshire and Humberside and London (Burningham et al. 2006).

Road accidents – Research for the Department for Transport demonstrates that children in the lowest socio-economic group are five times more likely to die in a pedestrian accident than children in the highest social class. Furthermore, the DfT also note a possible link between deprivation and casualty rates for all road user types and age groups. This is currently subject to more research and better quality data.

Ethnicity – Although not subject to detailed research, there is a suggestion that Black and Asian Minority Ethnic (BAME) residents are more likely to suffer environmental exclusion over and above the observed relationship with deprivation. Research for the DfT, for example, shows that – irrespective of social class – Asian children are more likely than white children to be injured in road accidents.

Local environmental quality – There appears to be a particularly strong relationship between levels of deprivation and the local environment. The English Housing Condition Survey, for example, reported that in the 88 Neighbourhood Renewal Funding priority areas litter, rubbish and dumping was experienced almost four-fold compared with elsewhere (40% versus 14%). Further, vandalism was experienced by 28% of households compared with only 7% in other areas.

For references see the report on page 18.


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