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Region scores badly in environment but does well in civic engagement, health and safety

By WBCraig  |  Posted: July 13, 2014

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Oh dear - residents in Cornwall will not be pleased to read that the region does not score well in the environmental stakes compared to the rest of the UK.

According to a new 'wellbeing' map, the South West is ranked 10 out of 12 UK regions for environment.

On a more positive note, the region is the second most desirable part of the UK to live in, beaten only by the South East, according to the global map by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which has analysed eight factors in 362 regions of its 34 member states.

The OECD’s interactive website allows visitors to compare their region with other parts of their country, and to compare their country with the whole of the 34-strong membership.

The South West has the top scores in the county for civic engagement and access to services, and comes second in health and safety.

Britain fails to make the top of the international table for any of the eight categories: Access to services, civic engagement, education, jobs, environment, income, health or safety.

In the UK, Northern Ireland has the cleanest air but the lowest voter turnout. Scotland has the shortest life expectancy, 3 years and 4 months less than southeast England.

“Where people live has a huge effect on their quality of life,” said Rolf Alter from the OECD. “By zooming in like this, we can really see the big differences that exist between regions and work out what local and state governments must do to reduce them.”

The new website is part of the OECD’s Better Life Initiative, which looks beyond economic growth to measure overall well-being. Its Better Life Index enables users to compare well-being across countries according to their own priorities.

According to the index, Britons rate “life satisfaction” as their most important priority, followed by health and then education.

“Civic engagement” is pushed into last place, behind “Community” and “Safety”.

The South West leads the country on “Civic engagement”, thanks to a high voter turnout of 69per cent.

The poor environmental score is based on the level of pollutants weighted by population, which gives less emphasis to thinly populated rural areas.

The OECD says that local air pollution decreases people’s perception of how satisfied they are with life.

Decreasing pollution by just 1per cent is equivalent to increasing per capita income by 0.71per cent.

The website also shows trends in the eight categories.

Compared to the other OECD countries the South West has improved since 2000 in education, the environment, health, access to services and civic engagement.

But life has got worse in the jobs market, and income and safety have stayed the same relative to other countries.

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  • ImSparticus  |  July 13 2014, 10:37AM

    Yet another example of jobs worth government employees. How much did that piece of data cost to produce and who gained...someones mate? What a load of piffle.

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  • cweatherhill  |  July 13 2014, 10:27AM

    Once again, you confuse Cornwall with an amorphous "South West". We're not the "South West". Just the bit on the end of it. I very much doubt that any environmental shortfall in the "South West" has anything to do with Cornish conditions which remain pretty decent, despite even the disasters being wrought on us by our current crop of imported planners.

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  • DipStick  |  July 13 2014, 9:25AM

    I'm sorry, but what the h3ll does this "survey" have to do with people's day to day lives? I mean, how many of your friends and family come up to you and say "Hey, have you seen the latest OECD survey results for the SW ....?". No? Thought not ... .... DS

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