For the purposes of the Department's liveability performance indicator, a 'poor quality environment' is defined as one assessed to have 'major' or 'significant' problems relating to any of 16 environmental problems. The assessments are carried out by professional surveyors as part of the English House Condition Survey and are based on observed problems in the immediate environment of households, in some cases verified by residents. Problems are assessed on a scale of 1 ('no problems') to 5 ('major problems'), with scores of 4 and 5 corresponding with 'major' or 'significant'. The 16 specific environmental problems are:
ambient air quality; condition of dwellings; dog or other excrement; graffiti; heavy traffic; intrusion from motorways/arterial roads; intrusive industry; litter and rubbish dumping; non-conforming uses; nuisance from street parking; railway/aircraft noise; scruffy gardens; scruffy/neglected buildings; vacant sites; vacant/boarded up buildings; vandalism.