SEPA successfully applied to the LIFE+ Programme for matched funding to support Scotland's environment web partnership initiative. A project with a total value of 4.8 million Euros commenced on September 1st 2011, for development of the Scotland's environment web partnership and website until August 2015.
Read a summary of what the Scotland’s environment web (LIFE) project has achieved.
The LIFE programme is the European Union's funding instrument for the environment. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation.
In 2010 SEPA successfully applied to the European Commission on behalf of Scotland’s environment web partners for funding to support and develop this initiative. The EU awarded €2.35 million, this figure is being matched by SEPA. The project ran from September 2011 to September 2015.
In May 2016 Scotland’s environment web was awarded one of the top 24 Best LIFE Environment Projects, out of 113 that finished in 2015, and more impressively, one of the top 5 "Best of the Best" projects.
Scotland's environment web team members with awards – (left to right) – Jo Muse (Principal Policy Officer), Leeann Burzynski (Web Developer), Paula Brown (Senior Project Manger).
Receiving awards from the European Commission's Director-General for environment, Daniel Calleja Crespo.
Scotland’s environment web project had 4 key objectives:
- To develop an inclusive partnership programme bringing together the key data providers and data users to develop the Scotland's environment web;
- To help promote the expansion of a European SEIS (Shared Environmental Information System) that makes available data on Europe’s environment. Scotland will have implemented Scotland's environment web, a Regional SEIS, as an example of European best practice in reporting which, in particular, will provide information required by the EEA;
- To improve the effectiveness of policy development and the targeting of environmental measures by providing a better understanding of the wider impacts of environmental change. Scotland's environment web will have developed a means of prioritising environmental problems based on environmental, economic, and social information (e.g. for climate adaptation);
- To engage the public by providing access to high quality on-line interactive resources to promote better understanding of the environment, public debate on environmental priorities, public monitoring of the environment and public activity to protect and improve the environment.
25 actions delivered these objectives under 5 workstream areas.
Through the establishment of an extensive network of environmental data providers and users, the project aimed to bring together information on Scotland’s environment so that it was easily available and in a usable form.
Scotland's environment website was established as a partnership website and main delivery platform for the project. It provides access to data and information held and managed by a wide range of organisations across Scotland. The creation of the website and the Scotland's environment web LIFE project was the start of a long term commitment to develop a new, modern and dynamic approach to presenting information by moving away from static, point-in-time reports, to a website where the most up-to-date environmental information is provided.
Between September 2011 and September 2015, the LIFE programme funding was used to further develop Scotland’s environment web, so that it provided much more than information on a website. The LIFE funding was used to build on the website, and aimed to:
- build a platform for shared services and achieve efficiency savings by developing a range of online applications to facilitate a more streamlined approach to the provision and use of environmental information and data;
- deliver an advanced environmental information system that provides a single point of access to data on Scotland’s environment, and improves priority data stream reporting to Europe;
- improve sharing, analysis and presentation of environmental information through an enhanced network of partnerships between interested organisations, businesses, groups and individuals;
- improve understanding of Scotland's environment through research and advanced analysis on collected data;
- improve methods of identifying and prioritising environmental problems, and targeting measures to manage and improve Scotland’s environment;
- develop citizen science initiatives and promote public involvement in the process of collecting data and observations;
- allow the public to pro-actively engage on environmental issues.
Communication Strategy and Evaluation
- Scotland's environment web after-LIFE communication plan - October 2015
- BIG communication strategy - February 2014
- BIG final evaluation report - December 2014
- Get learning flyer - August 2015
- Citizen science and curriculum for excellence (PDF) - December 2015
Our environment competition
- SEPA reports expected bathing water classifications under new European Directive - 6th October 2015
- SPRI shows overall decline in greenhouse gases from Scottish industry - 2nd October 2015
- Changing our children’s choices to tackle air pollution - 24th June 2015
- Scotland’s bathing water season starts - 1st June 2015
- New Scottish waste and recycling data published for 2012 - 5th November 2014
- Another good summer for Scotland’s bathing waters - 30th September 2014
- Project finder launched - 2nd July 2014
- Youth discussion awards event - 17th June 2014
- State of the environment and website relaunch - 5th June 2014
- Edinburgh International Science Festival - Science Needs You Event - 7th April 2014
- Land Information Search tool launched - 26th February 2014
- Youth discussion competition - 18th February 2014
- St David's Primary wins £200 for top question in online debate – and is inspired to enter national environment competition - 19th November 2013
- Future funding announced for Scotland’s environment web - 12th March 2015
- New waste statistics and Scotland's environment web household waste discover data app - 28th October 2013
SEPA View articles
- Starting young: Changing attitudes to air quality - 29th September 2015
- Scotland’s young people awarded for great eco-ideas - 28th September 2015
- Get learning – Solving the data problem for teachers - 21st September 2015
- Introducing… Get learning - 1st September 2015
- Our environment competition 2016 launched - 18th August 2015
- Awards and nominations - 7th July 2015
- EcoHack 2015 - A new way to look at environmental data - 12th June 2015
- Learning about air quality - 30th April 2015
- Citizen science - My world - Paul Griffiths - 20th April 2015
- Enthusiastic green volunteers - 15th April 2015
- Our Environment competition launched - 17th November 2014
- Tidal change – achievements at the ebb of the current Directive and the challenge ahead - 30th September 2014
- Scotland's environment website gets a new look - 10th July 2014
- Edinburgh International Science Festival photo gallery - 10th July 2014
- Project Finder - 4th July 2014
- Edinburgh International Science Festival – Science Needs You - June 2014
- Scotland’s environment web Re-launch - June 2014
- Edinburgh International Science Festival article - 1st April 2014
- Scotland’s aquaculture website and fish mortality data - 24th October 2013
- Scotland’s bathing waters gear up for their toughest test yet - 25th June 2013
- Spotfire – a new, innovative way to display water quality information - 20th June 2013
- A new look for Scotland's soils website - October 2016
- Scotland's environment Air Quality - Good story - Feb 2016
- Land Information Search - Good story - Dec 2015
- Storify - The twitter story of our EcoHack event & hashtag #ScotEcoHack - May 2015
- Scotland's environment web leading edge approach - Connect Magazine Issue 7 - Spring 2013
- Scotland's environment web - Powerpoint 2014
- Scotland's environment web - brand guidelines
- Scotland's environment web digital brochure 2015
- Scotland's environment web digital brochure 2014
- Scotland's environment web digital brochure 2012
- Issue 14 - It's all about... our natural health service September 2016
- Issue 13 - It's all about... our marine environment June 2016
- Issue 12 - It's all about... our biodiversity May 2016
- Issue 11 - It's all about... our historic environment April 2016
- Issue 10 - It's all about YOU... and Science March 2016
- Issue 9 - Love is in the air quality: All you need to know for Scotland Feb 2016
- Issue 8 - Waste special January 2016
- Issue 7 - August 2015
- Issue 6 - May 2015
- Issue 5 - June 2014
- Issue 4 - October 2013
- Issue 3 - May 2013
- Issue 2 - December 2012
- Issue 1 - September 2012
- Core briefing 1 - Project summary
- Core briefing 2 - Partnerships
- Core briefing 3 - Public engagement
- Core briefing 4 - Citizen science
- Core briefing 5 - State of environment report
- Core briefing 6 - Spotfire
Project briefing notes
Videos and podcasts
- Parliamentary exhibition
- 2011 Ministerial launch
- Rivers and canals podcast
- Our environment competition promotion
- Get learning data collection guidance:
- Water clarity and pH
- Tree height
- Soil pH
- Soil texture
- Small mammal trappings
- Sampling strategies
- Pond dipping
- Pitfall traps
- Scotland's environment web introduction
- Map view user guidance
- Project finder user guidance
Public engagement reports
One of Scotland’s environment web’s key objectives is to engage the public by providing access to high quality on-line interactive resources to promote better understanding of the environment, public debate on environmental priorities, public monitoring of the environment and public activity to protect and improve the environment. Significant work has been undertaken to identify the current knowledge and future needs of the Scottish public in order to identify a range of products which can help Scotland’s environment web meet its public interest objectives. The following reports provide detail on different areas of work:
Public engagement evaluation
The Public Engagement Evaluation Strategy was developed to guide Scotland’s environment web’s public engagement.
- poses a ‘theory of change’ stating: ‘High quality on-line information about the environment (both in terms of what kind of information people need and how they need it presented) can act as an effective gateway to better understanding, and better engagement in debating environmental priorities, monitoring the environment and taking action to protect it’;
- sets questions which must be addressed to test this hypothesis;
- identifies qualitative and quantitative means of assessing public interest and engagement with the environment.
A range of activities have been undertaken to assess public interest and engagement in the environment, including:
Population survey report 2012
In February and March 2012, 12 questions were placed in the Scottish Opinion Survey Omnibus surveying 2,054 people over 52 geographic locations to establish public knowledge and interest in the environment. The Population Survey Report 2012 collates questions and responses.
In April 2011 a Eurobarometer Survey was undertaken to assess attitudes to the natural environment across Europe. Results have been collated and analysed to provide a summary of responses at a European, UK and Scottish level.
Eurobarometer – Comparison of 2014 and 2011 Surveys
This report presents a summary of comparisons between the 2014 and 2011 Special Eurobarometer surveys on public attitudes towards the environment. Answers to a selection of questions are presented for the EU as a whole, the UK and Scotland, to enable comparisons to be made between these different geographic areas and over time. These comparisons provide the background context against which an evaluation of the effectiveness thus far of Scotland’s environment web in engaging the public in actions to monitor and improve the environment is being made.
Scotland's environment web focus group
Qualitative research was undertaken via focus groups and individual interviews in June and July 2012. 19 people took part from a range of socio-economic groups in both urban and rural locations. Questions sought to assess attitudes towards the environment and establish peoples preferred method of obtaining information on the environment and their initial perception of Scotland’s environment website. The Scotland's environment web focus group findings report provides detailed analysis of the findings.
Young people and Scotland's environment web
A number of workshops were undertaken with Pupils from Stirling High School to assess how Scotland’s environment web can help and support young people to better enjoy, understand, protect and improve Scotland’s environment. The Young People and Scotland's environment web report summarises findings.
At the initial workshops in March 2012, the young people came up with ‘5 big ideas’ for developing content and applications to attract a younger audience. Due to enthusiasm of Scotland’s environment web partners to the work undertaken with the young people, the project undertook a second phase of engagement, in partnership with Abertay University to work with the pupils to develop 3 of these ‘big ideas' into prototypes. A story board and video diary produced by the young people provide information and feedback on the process. The prototypes of an on-line environmental game, mobile phone app and youth pages for Scotland’s environment websites are available on Abertay Universities’ website.
Understanding behaviour change
Understanding Behaviour Change report was produced in May 2012 to help partners involved in the development of Scotland’s environment web to better understand what motivates behaviour and how behaviours can be influenced.
Public interest in the environment
The Public Interest in the Environment report was produced for Scotland’s environment web management group in August 2012, summarising findings of all public interest assessment work, identifying themes drawn form the information gathered and proposing a suite of products to facilitate engagement with the public.
A Public Monitoring report was produced for Scotland’s environment web management group in August 2012, mapping out the current landscape in citizen science in the UK, identifying gaps and proposing a suite of products to engage the public in citizen science.
Citizen science participation – Effects on behaviour and attitudes
In 2013, Scotland’s environment web and The Conservation Volunteers undertook a project to look at the impact that engagement in citizen science activities has upon participants’ environmental values, attitudes and behaviour towards the environment and its management. This project was an important part of the Scotland’s environment web LIFE+ project evaluation strategy. The first phase of the project consisted of a review and summary of the existing literature and research worldwide regarding this issue, whilst the second phase consisted of interviews with TCV volunteers to ascertain whether participation in citizen science activities changed the way they thought about their surrounding environment and the way they behaved towards it.
The findings of both phases of this project are presented in the following reports:
Air quality and citizen science
A Scotland's environment web funded research project, looking at how citizen science techniques can be used to monitor urban air quality, has just reached the end of its third phase. This project involved working with school pupils and cyclists who were testing out mobile monitoring equipment, and also included an evaluation of Scotland's environment web’s toolkit for citizen science. The findings of the research to date are presented in the series of reports as accessed below. These findings are currently being used to develop a teaching resources pack (in conjunction with Education Scotland and North Lanarkshire Council) to facilitate citizen science and action on air quality in schools.
Towards the end of 2013, Scotland’s environment web worked with Ipsos MORI to host a number of public discussions throughout Scotland, where representative members of the general public were selected and invited to attend a one day event at which they shared their own unprompted views on what they thought were environmental priorities, and were then asked to give their reaction to what Scotland's environment web had identified as the priority environmental issues for Scotland. These ‘deliberative’ style discussions were then followed up by an online discussion forum that was run on similar lines. The findings of both the face to face discussions and the online forum are presented in the report which can be accessed below. These findings were used to develop a toolkit which can be used by Scotland's environment web partners and others to plan future public discussions on the environment.
Scotland's environment web LIFE - Final report - November 2015
This project has created a network of partners who have collaborated to produce an advanced environmental information system to deliver four key objectives. The project is a demonstration of best practice and innovation and has strong potential for replication throughout the EU. It has started a conversation with the public in the monitoring and protection of the environment and finally has established a strong brand which will be developed as the environmental data hub for Scotland. Scotland’s environment web has been a leader in the rapidly developing programme of digital innovation in the environmental information ‘landscape’ in Scotland. The final report (PDF)
Vision and blue print for Scotland’s environment web
Scotland’s environment web has been working with Abertay University on a website visioning report, seeking an independent review of the Pilot (Phase 1) website and a detailed user analysis to inform the future design and development of the website.
Through the analysis of a website survey (nearly 200 responses), workshops with a wide range of different user groups (around 80 participants) and expert research, a series of recommendations have been outlined by Abertay University for the Scotland’s environment web Project to consider. These recommendations are now being used to help steer the future direction of the website that will:
- establish a clear and focussed purpose;
- optimise the user experience;
- connect and integrate a range of different web based products and services;
- embrace relevant digital/social media technologies to help communicate environmental information.
Not all recommendations highlighted in the report can be progressed within this current phase of the Scotland’s environment web project, but the report is providing a useful information resource from which a new website implementation plan is being developed and will be imminently delivered, whilst maintaining a clear sight of the longer term opportunities and aspirations for the website.
Scotland’s environment web project launch conference
On 30th September 2011 representatives of 32 organisations forming part of the Scotland’s environment web Partnership met to Launch the project and gather views and ideas that will inform the work of the Scotland’s environment web LIFE+ Project. Three workshops were held as part of the 1 day event to:
- establish partners thoughts, hopes and concerns about the project;
- identify datasets to be presented on Scotland’s environment website and potential data gaps;
- gather views on where Scotland’s environment web can add value to the presentation, reporting and management of data.
A summary of attendance and workshop outputs can be found in the Scotland's environment web LIFE+ project workshop report - September 2011.
Scotland's environment web international conference
On the 13th March 2015, over 90 delegates attended and viewed online the Understanding the state of the environment - international confernece. Speakers from the European Environment Agency, Dr Paul McAleavey and Cathy Maguire shared some of the headline findings from the agency's recently published European state and outlook 2015 report. Looking closer to home, SEPA's Nathan Critchlow-Watton spoke about the collaborative process of producing the 2014 State of Scotland's environment report, and Jo Muse about how Scotland's environment web is helping to raising awareness, educate and inform Scotland's citizens about the environment. Workshops in the afternoon gave delegates the opportunity to find out more about some of the key features of the Scotland's environment web LIFE Project. Videos, presentations and more can be found on the International Conference page
State of the environment report
State of the environment infographics
- Air infographic (PDF)
- Land animation
- Land infographic (PDF)
- Water animation
- Water infographic (PDF)
- The greenhouse gas effect
- Human activities causing soil degradation
- Typical setting of wetlands in the Scottish landscape
- Scotland’s seawater circulation
- Cross section of a sea loch (4 images)
- Sources of air pollution
Air quality and health, health, well-being and behaviour
Institute of Occupational Medicine – August 2015
This report presents the findings from evidence reviews of the health and wellbeing impacts of air pollution and of behaviour change related to air pollution. These reviews were carried out as part of a programme aimed at developing key messages for use to promote improvements in air quality and in public health, and thus contribute to addressing health inequalities in Scotland. Further detail can be found on the partnership work on Air quality and health.
LIFE Project Action 9: Develop a method to prioritise environmental problems across media
The Scotland’s environment web partnership is working to improve public understanding and engagement with the environment. As part of this work, the partnership delivered simplified assessments of the state of the environment. This key environmental issues report (PDF) outlines the process followed, the method used, the outputs and a critique of the method.
LIFE Project Action 10: Effectiveness of Measures
Scotland’s environment web (LIFE) Project identified an action to develop an understanding of the costs and effectiveness of measures and interventions which are undertaken to protect and improve the environment. With information on the effectiveness of measures being identified as important for policy and regulatory development, an opportunity to pilot Multicriteria-mapping (MCM) methodology on the SEPA Smart LIFE Waste Project was identified. 4 reports have been published in support of this work.
|1||Economic Assessment of Waste Crime Enforcement in Scotland||SEPA / University of Stirling||This report provides an introduction to cost-effective and benefit-cost analysis and illustrates how these tools could be applied to compare four enforcement actions for waste crime. It then applies the benefit-cost analysis method to determine the costs and benefits of waste crime enforcement for three separate Scottish case studies.|
|2||Assessing the effectiveness of environmental improvement measures Developing a toolkit to rank success and inform policy.||CREW / SEPA||This work includes a literature review of decision aiding tools, a description of the four shortlisted tools, a justification for the selection of MCM and a description of it.|
Trial of Multicriteria Mapping process and software in SEPA - Using MCM to assess the most effective interventions for combatting or reducing waste related crime.
|SEPA||This is a short document extracted from the full report, summarising the MCM process and its potential for assessing the effectiveness of measures, but without details of the waste trial analysis.|
Trial of Multicriteria Mapping process and software in SEPA - Using MCM to assess the most effective interventions for combatting or reducing waste related crime.
|SEPA||This document reports on that trial and fulfils two functions:
Social media rules of engagement and responding to social media queries
Adding resources to the search
Daughter website guidelines
Style guide for Scotland's environment web
Best practice case studies – Land information search
Web map service (WMS)
- Datasets form
- XML data load to linked data
- Open data journey presentation
- Deployment - Data exchange capabilities
User guidance videos
- Introduction to Scotland's environment web – Finding your way around
- Map view themed & advanced search
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