South Cambridgeshire tops quality of life survey

18 April 2011

South Cambridgeshire has been crowned the best rural place to live in Great Britain.

The area scored well on residents' health, life expectancy, employment, school performance and climate in a survey by Halifax.

Residents of south Cambridgeshire live longer than the national average (81.6 years) and enjoy a good climate with significantly less rainfall per year than the average in Britain (597 mm against 871 mm).

There is also a high employment rate (79%) and high average weekly earnings of £739.

Nitesh Patel, housing economist at Halifax, comments: ‘In recent years, south Cambridgeshire has performed well against the full range of indicators to demonstrate that its residents consistently have among the best quality of life in rural Britain.'

The survey, which ranks rural local authority districts by quality of life, gave the second spot to East Hertfordshire while Uttlesford in Essex came third.

Stats breakdown

Looking at some of the individual indicators, the top rural areas for employment are Ryedale in North Yorkshire and the Shetlands (both with 86%).

The Chilterns has some of the wealthiest residents: average earnings are highest here at £833 per week, and the biggest homes are found here too, with the average house having 6.4 rooms.

People looking for a quiet life with little traffic noise should look no further than Scotland, where many parts, such as the Western Isles and the Highlands, scored the lowest traffic flow.

The lowest burglary rate is also in the Western Isles, followed by North Wiltshire.

For parents looking for the best schools, the Western Isles also scores highly as it has the smallest primary school class sizes (14 pupils). The best GCSE results are in the Isles of Scilly and Teesdale and Wear Valley in Country Durham where 91 per cent and 84 per cent respectively of 15 to 16 year olds achieved five or more GCSE grades A-C.

Unsurprisingly the sunniest rural place in Great Britain is one of the most southerly points, the Isle of Wight. Residents there enjoy an average of 37.4 hours of sunshine a week.

Halifax conducted the survey using the Office for National Statistics' definition of a rural area: a town or village of less than 10,000 people. A rural local authority is one where the majority of residents live in rural areas.

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