Local Environmental Quality Survey of England

The Local Environmental Quality Survey for England (LEQSE) is an important report that tells us just how clean our country is in a scientific, statistically robust way. We often hear people saying that ‘our country is getting dirtier’. This statement can be clouded by perceptions, politics or prevailing wisdoms. LEQSE offers a reliable picture based on evidence gathered by our survey team throughout the year and going back more than a decade.

The survey has been carried out annually by Keep Britain Tidy on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) since 2001. The survey measures the presence of litter, but it also measures six other indicators of cleanliness:

• Detritus

• Weed growth

• Staining

• Graffiti

• Fly-posting

• Recent leaf and blossom fall

Taken as a whole, these indicators are used for assigning a qualitative score to the environmental quality of an area based on the presence of these indicators. The result of the survey provides information on the overall cleanliness of England, which can be used by Government, local authorities, businesses and land managers to improve local environmental quality. With litter, readers should note that many of the statistics relate to the presence or absence of litter, rather than the volume or amount dropped. However, the standards against which sites are graded as “acceptable” or not, as used for the headline results, does take into account the volume and amount of litter and the other headline indicators seen on site. Surveys are a snapshot of a site at the time surveyors arrive, so results for all elements are sensitive to how thoroughly or how recently the survey site has been cleansed before data is recorded.

'How Clean is England? interactive guide to LEQSE

Download the full 'How Clean is England?' 2014/15 LEQSE report

Download last year's 'How Clean is England?' 2013/14 LEQSE report

Survey methodology

Land use definitions

Item definitions