The 2017 greenspace public use and attitude survey shows the downward trend in the deteriorating quality of Scotland’s parks and greenspaces has continued.  Whilst the survey confirms that Scots still love their parks, with over 90% of urban Scots saying it is important to have greenspace in their local area, the quality of Scotland’s parks and greenspaces has continued to decline, and this means that fewer people are using their local greenspaces regularly.

40% of people agreed or agreed strongly that the quality of their local greenspace has reduced in the last 5 years (up from 33% in 2011) and this figure rises to 50% for people living in the more deprived areas (up from 35% in 2011).

From a peak, in 2009, when nearly two-thirds (63%) of urban Scots used their local greenspace once a week or more often; frequency of use and quality ratings have fallen steadily, with less than half (43%) of Scots visiting their local greenspace weekly in 2017.  This is the lowest figure since the survey first started in 2004.

Despite the decrease in frequency of weekly use, greenspaces are still an important free recreational resource for people of all ages and backgrounds; with only 4% of people saying they never visit local greenspaces.

This decrease in use is mirrored by falls in people’s rating (strongly agree) of their local greenspaces as: safe places for physical activity (45% in 2017, down from 49% in 2011 and 60% in 2009); places where you can relax and unwind (43% in 2017, down from 50% in 2011 and 63% in 2009); and good places for children to play (43% in 2017, down from 52% in 2011 and 59% in 2009.  As in previous waves, the survey again revealed gaps between people’s expectations of greenspaces as good places for play, physical activity and recreation, and their experience of their local greenspace.

Encouragingly, the survey found significant increases in people wanting to have more of a say in how their greenspace is managed and to get involved in activities to improve their local greenspace; with respondents in the younger age groups and from the most deprived areas were more likely to strongly agree.

Read the full survey report, executive summary and media release

The reports from the earlier omnibus surveys (public use and attitude surveys) can be downloaded from the publications section

About the survey

The 2011 greenspace survey was commissioned by greenspace scotland, with funding support from Scottish Natural Heritage, Scottish Government and the Central Scotland Green Network Trust. The online survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,000 adults (aged 16 and over) living in urban areas in Scotland (i.e. those living in towns or cities with over 3,000 residents).  The sample was provided by the panel provider, Research Now, and the survey was administered by Why Research.  The survey period lasted from 21 June until 11 July 2017.  To ensure that the sample was representative, quotas were set on gender, age and socio-economic grouping to reflect the Scottish adult population (as per the 2011 census data).