11 Social Capital

11 Social Capital

11.1 Introduction

This section considers the potential effects of the proposed scheme on social capital, or the connections within and between communities.

Social capital has been described as comprising ‘trust, reciprocity, local identity, civic engagement and community cohesion’ (Cave et al., 2001). This may be influenced by the effects of the proposed development (both positive and negative) on:

  • community space and communities facilities;
  • the degree of severance between communities; and
  • quality of the rural and urban environment, including factors such as
  • traffic on local roads;
  • visual impacts of construction sites and new infrastructure;
  • lighting; and
  • the presence of construction sites

The issues discussed in this section overlap with issues considered in Section 6 Economics and Employment, Section:9: Access to Services and Section 10: Physical Activity and Green Space.

11.1.1 Study Area

As described above, potential social capital effects are associated with direct effects of the proposed scheme, including environmental effects and severance. Therefore the study area focuses on the communities in the immediate vicinity of the proposed scheme (Main Crossing, junctions and road alignments).

11.2 Evidence of Health Effects

11.2.1 Social Capital

Social capital has been linked with health in a number of studies. Cave et al. (2001) includes a review of recent work on the subject of social capital and health, which reveals divided views on whether a tangible association exists. Those that identify a linkage quote inversely proportional relationships between levels of social capital and issues such as self-assessed health, susceptibility to disease and infection, and the occurrence of accidents, as well as proportional relationships between social capital and good mental health and long life expectancy. Some authors cited in the review suggest that these linkages arise as a result of the influence of social capital on health related behaviour, esteem and health service use.

11.2.2 Security and Fear of Crime

Opportunities for crime and antisocial behaviour, and fear of crime, are affected by the quality of the urban and rural environment (for example derelict sites, lighting and visibility). Direct experience of crime is less consistently related to ill health than fear of crime. Recent research (Jackson et al., 2009)

has identified a correlation between self-reported health and fear of crime. However the same research found that the evidence base with regard to the effect of fear of crime on health and quality of life is scarce.

11.3 Existing Conditions

Data on neighbourhood ratings at the national level is available from the Scottish Household Survey. Table 11 below presents an extract from the neighbourhood survey data.

Table 11: Aspects of Neighbourhood Particularly Liked, by SIMD

Aspects of Neighbourhood


% of respondents who mentioned aspect as a positive factor in neighbourhood rating

15% most deprived communities (SIMD)

Rest of Scotland

Pleasant environment



Safe environment



Sense of community/friendly people



These data show that people living in the 15% most deprived areas in Scotland are less likely than those living elsewhere to mention that their local neighbourhood is pleasant, safe, or has a sense of community and friendly people.

No local data on neighbourhoods and communities was found in this study. The overall levels of deprivation are shown in Figure 2 of this report and information on communities and facilities is presented in Section 6.

11.4 Impact Assessment

11.4.1 Operational Effects

(a) Community Severance

Chapter 17 of the ES identifies increases in community severance of slight to moderate significance following mitigation, in the following locations:

  • Inverkeithing to North Queensferry;
  • South Queensferry to Linn Mill; and
  • South Queensferry to Newton.

These impacts arise from the proposed alterations to the roads around Ferrytoll Junction on the north side and the new road alignment on the south side. The increased journey times between these communities has the potential to reduce the ability or inclination to access friends/family or social groups. The overall effects on wellbeing are considered to be extremely small, but individuals who regularly used the affected routes may be disproportionately affected. Particularly vulnerable groups include people without cars, the elderly and mobility impaired people.

Other issues that could give rise to community severance include the loss of green space used by communities for informal recreation, such as the fields at Echline. These impacts are discussed in Section 10 of this report.

(b) Crime and Security

The proposed scheme is not considered to have adverse effects on security and fear of crime during operation. Where public footpaths pass under the proposed new alignment, these would be designed to a high standard to ensure visibility and adequate lighting.

11.4.2 Construction Effects

(a) Community Severance

During construction, community severance could increase as a result of construction traffic and road diversions around Ferrytoll Junction and the west side of South Queensferry.

(b) Crime and Security

Construction sites have the potential to attract crime and antisocial behaviour, including trespass, graffiti, fly tipping and theft. The presence of vacant construction sites and footpath diversions can increase fear of crime, particularly for people walking in darkness or outside construction hours. Fear of crime can have a knock of effect of discouraging participation in social and other activities. However it is anticipated that the construction of the proposed scheme would be well managed and the impacts of construction sites would be minimised.

11.5 Mitigation Measures

11.5.1 Operational Phase

The design of the proposed scheme has aimed to minimise impacts on community severance by maintaining core paths and public rights of way and minimising diversions and journey time increases. The Disability Discrimination Act would be complied with in the design of footpath diversions during both construction and operation.

These measures have been taken into account in the assessment of health effects.

11.5.2 Construction Phase

A CoCP has been developed for the project which includes a section on Public Access and Traffic Management. This includes a requirement on the Contractor to develop a Traffic Management Plan including measures to maintain access and minimise severance. This includes specific requirements for the standard of construction and lighting of temporary diversions.

The CoCP also includes measures that would help to reduce fears about crime and security during the construction process. These include good housekeeping measures to ensure that all construction sites are clean, secure and free from litter and vandalism. Security measures would include the provision and use of lockable site gates, security cameras and secure fencing. Working areas that are no longer required would be cleared promptly.

11.6 Assessment of Health Impacts

The effects on health have been assessed according to the criteria set out in the Merseyside Guidelines (see Section 4.6).

Based on the available evidence (see Section 11.2), the degree of certainty of links between social capital impacts and health is considered to be speculative. The assessment of these impacts is qualitative.

The proposed scheme has been designed to make best use of the existing transport infrastructure where possible and therefore to a large degree avoids the severance of existing communities. However, some severance impacts have been identified at locations near the Ferrytoll and South Queensferry junctions. The associated health effects of severance include reduced opportunities for social interaction for vulnerable individuals. These impacts are likely to be increased during construction as a result of diversions to existing footpaths and road traffic. The increased presence of unknown people in the area during construction, change in routing of footpaths and presence of construction sites may also give rise to concerns regarding safety and security.

Overall, the associated health effects on social capital are considered to be negative and of minor magnitude.

11.7 HIA-Specific Mitigation

Secured by Design principles (Secured by Design, 2009) will be applied to the design of temporary and permanent footpaths, cycle paths and underpasses to ensure that people are not deterred from using either temporary or permanent routes due to safety concerns.