Social and Environmental Inequalities in Rural England, 2004-2009


Abstract copyright UK Data Service and data collection copyright owner.

This is a mixed method data collection. The study is part of the Rural Economy and Land Use (RELU) programme. The data result from two RELU projects carried out by the same research team: • Social and environmental conditions in rural areas (SECRA), 01/10/2004 - 30/09/2005• Social and environmental inequalities in rural areas (SEIRA), 01/08/2007 -31/07/2009 Both SECRA and SEIRA consist of a series of social and environmental variables for the same 6,027 rural Lower Super Output Areas in England. SECRA is the base dataset produced during the pilot project. The SEIRA dataset contains additional variables. In addition, SEIRA also contains interviews with rural residents on perceptions of inequality and inequity. Interview results revealed that people recognise that rural areas offer limited opportunities for recreation and local services, and a lack of affordable housing. SECRA: The dataset on social and environmental conditions in rural areas was intended to encourage and enable researchers and policy makers to include both social and environmental perspectives in their consideration of rural problems. The original objectives of the one-year scoping study to produce the dataset were:1. to compile a rural sustainability dataset incorporating both socio-economic andenvironmental characteristics of rural census output areas in England;2. to highlight and address the methodological difficulties in working with spatial andsurvey data from sources in the social and environmental science domains;3. to identify the limitations of currently available data for rural areas;4. to pilot the use of the rural sustainability dataset for classifying rural areas according to socio-economic and environmental conditions and hence allowing the construction of typologies to provide sampling frames for further research and to inform policies for sustainable rural development;5. to explore the possibilities of extending dataset coverage to Scotland and NorthernIreland given differences in census data infrastructures and output design processes. The SECRA dataset has been compiled at the level of the new Super Output Areas (SOAs) for England. The rural extent has been identified from the new Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) definition of urban and rural areas which relies primarily on the morphology and context of settlements. Further information and documentation for this study may be found through the ESRC Research Catalogue: Developing spatial data for the classification of rural areas. SEIRA: This research project has investigated the nature and extent of social and environmental inequalities and injustice in rural England addressing the questions:1. How can we measure rural spatial inequalities in (a) socio-economic and (b) environmental-ecological characteristics of small-scale areas of England? 2. How can inequality measures inform our understanding of the distributions of social and environmental deprivation in rural England? 3. How do rural residents experience the kinds of inequality identified by the research, and what types of inequalities do they perceive as inequitable? 4. Are there identifiable areas of rural England where the potential for environmental and social inequity suggests a need for policy intervention? Inequality in social, economic and environmental conditions has important implications for individuals or groups of people experiencing its negative effects, but also for society as a whole. In urban areas, poor environments are associated frequently with deprivation and social exclusion. Where the unequal distribution of social and environmental goods is considered unfair, it constitutes social or environmental injustice. This project has quantified inequalities in social and environmental conditions throughout rural England and identified those areas where inequalities are greatest. It has also enhanced understanding of perceptions of inequality and injustice in rural areas. The work shows how rural policy can be refined and targeted to tackle these multi-faceted problems in the most appropriate way for the benefit of society. Further information for this study may be found through the ESRC Research Catalogue webpage: Social and environmental inequalities in rural areas.

Main Topics:

Rural conditions, rural problems, spatial dataset, interdisciplinary, social-economic indicators, environmental indicators, social and environmental inequalities and injustice, and rural England.

No sampling (total universe)

Purposive selection/case studies


Focus group

Metadata Access
Creator Huby, M., University of York, Social Policy Research Unit
Publisher UK Data Service
Publication Year 2010
Funding Reference Economic and Social Research Council; Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council; Natural Environment Research Council
Rights <a href="" target="_blank">© Crown copyright</a> held jointly with M. Huby, S. Cinderby, P. White and A. De Bruin.<br> <br> Third party data was used extensively in this study and joint copyright is given to the data providers. Material is distributed with the permission of the Centre for Sustainable Energy, the Automobile Association Developments Limited and the Tracking Mammal Partnership.; <p>The Data Collection is available to UK Data Service registered users subject to the <a href="" target="_blank">End User Licence Agreement</a>.</p>
OpenAccess true
Resource Type Text; Numeric
Discipline Economics; Social and Behavioural Sciences
Spatial Coverage Buckinghamshire; Devon; Northumberland; South Yorkshire; England