Scotland business

Orkney 'second best place to live' in UK

Kirkwall Image copyright Bob Jones
Image caption Orkney was named the best place to live in Scotland, and second best in the UK, for quality of life

Orkney is the second best place to live in the UK in terms of quality of life, according to a Bank of Scotland survey.

It cited low crime rates, high employment and a large number of pubs per head of population as some of the reasons for its ranking.

Winchester in Hampshire topped the list for quality of life while Wychavon in Worcestershire was third.

Shetland was the only other Scottish local authority area to feature in the UK top 20, coming in at 18th.

Orkney, which was once again named the best place to live in Scotland, climbed up the UK rankings this year following the inclusion of a leisure category for the first time.

The category includes the number of pubs and the availability of health clubs and leisure centres within areas.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Health clubs and leisure centres featured in the survey for the first time

The survey highlighted a burglary rate in Orkney of just 2.3 per 10,000 people, compared with a Scottish average of 27.2 and 28.7 for the rest of the UK.

It also found that Orkney residents had the lowest levels of anxiety rating in the UK (1.9 out of 10).

Along with those living in the Western Isles, they were also most satisfied with life (8.2 out of 10).

Other factors cited as contributing to their quality of life were an employment rate of 87.6%, well above the national average of 73.7%, and a large number of pubs - 20 per 10,000 adults.

Having one of the highest numbers of fitness and health clubs (3 per 10,000 people) helped push both the Scottish Borders and Perth and Kinross up the Scottish table, to fourth and fifth respectively.

Argyll and Bute, which was found to have the highest number of pubs in Scotland (25 per 10,000 people), moved up to eighth this year.

Graham Blair, mortgage director at Bank of Scotland, said: "It's fantastic to see Orkney rise up the rankings to be named the second best place to live in the UK, while also retaining the title of best place to live in Scotland.

"Having one of the lowest population densities and traffic levels in Scotland, let alone some of the most stunning scenery in the British Isles, it's no wonder that Orkney also has the lowest levels of anxiety and highest life satisfaction ratings.