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Measuring participation

Ensuring that everyone in Scotland has the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors is a major part of our work. Regular research helps us identify key audiences and develop policies and practice to encourage people in Scotland to take part in outdoor recreation, volunteer for the environment or get involved in outdoor learning.

Scotland's People and Nature Survey (or SPANS) is a quantitative research survey which helps us understand how people in Scotland use, enjoy and value the natural environment. The survey was commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage with support from Forestry Commission Scotland, the national parks and Greenspace Scotland. It will run in 2013 and then every third year for a period of ten years (i.e. in 2016, 2019 and 2022), providing information on:

  • the number of people in Scotland taking part in outdoor recreation, including the sorts of activities they enjoy and the types of places they visit;
  • the other ways in which people enjoy the outdoors;
  • the types of benefits people feel they get from visiting the outdoors; how informed or concerned people feel about Scotland's natural environment;
  • how people living in towns and cities rate their local greenspace;
  •  recreational use of woods and forests;
  • what people think of our national parks;
  • and how much people value our national and local landscapes.

Find out more about how the survey  PDF document   is run and see a copy of the full survey questionnaire  PDF document   here.

The latest SPANS data are available on this page. A separate report on the SPANS findings relating to urban greenspace is also available from Greenspace Scotland external site ; and our Attitudes to Greenspace in Scotland report  highlights key findings on urban greenspace from SPANS and other surveys undertaken between 2004 and 2013.

The Scottish Recreation Survey

The Scottish Recreation Survey (ScRS) was the predecessor to SPANS. It monitored participation in outdoor recreation among adults in Scotland for a period of ten years, between 2003 and 2012. Between 2006 and 2012, ScRS data were also used to monitor progress on the Scottish Government's National Indicator to 'Increase people's use of Scotland's outdoors'; our Official Statistics  page shows trends in weekly participation in outdoor leisure and recreation during this period. From 2013, the Scottish Government's Scottish Household Survey will become the data source for this National Indicator.

You'll find the final ScRS annual report and summary fact sheet series (for 2012) on this page; to see earlier annual reports, just go to our commissioned research  page.

Last updated on Wednesday 6th January 2016 at 12:25 PM. Click here to comment on this page