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Last Updated:  Wednesday, 5 March, 2003, 11:14 GMT
Counties' anger over survey
Roaches View, Staffordshire
Staffordshire has stunning views say local MPs
Staffordshire and Hertfordshire have been voted the worst places to live in a magazine survey.

The Country Life survey, published on Thursday, looked at all aspects of quality of life - from the number of birds in the trees to the standard of binmen.

But on a scale of 100, Staffordshire and Hertfordshire hit rock bottom by scoring just 30 each.

Staffordshire was awarded zero out of 10 for sport and arts, zero out of 10 for education and just one out of 10 for sunshine hours.

Staffordshire v Devon
Make your own mind up about the two counties by clicking on the links below

Hertfordshire suffered similarly for sport, arts and education and managed just a one for landscape.

On the other hand, Devon came out on top in the survey scoring 72 points - well ahead of its closest rivals Gloucestershire and Cornwall, which had 64 points each.

Charlotte Atkins, Labour MP for Staffordshire Moorlands, said she was "staggered" by the survey results.

"It is not helpful because when you consider the sort of environment you can find in Staffordshire, I would say that you find just as stunning scenery as in Devon," she said.

Sir Patrick Cormack, Tory MP for South Staffordshire, was sceptical of the survey.

"This is a travesty," he said.

"Statistics are like eggs, it depends who lays them, who cooks them and who eats them."

'High reputation'

Meanwhile, Oliver Heald, Tory MP for North Herts, attacked the survey saying it was "unfair and an outrageous slur on the county".

He said: "Every town in Hertfordshire has a plethora of sporting teams and many supporters.

"The secondary schools have a very high reputation and are often featuring in the media. I would say this was totally unfair."

Devon, however, warmed to the results.

Brian Greenslade, deputy leader of the county council, said: "Devon really is a very green and pleasant land with two very long coastlines."

'Impartial survey'

Country Life editor Clive Aslet admitted the study was tough on some counties.

"This is totally impartial," he said.

"At Country Life we love Staffordshire. It's just very difficult to rate counties because there are so many wonderful places in England.

"This is our particular take on it but I think it is a version of qualities that many people would buy into. It is not in any way elitist."

Singing the praises of Devon
05 Mar 03 |  England
Alnwick gets the magic touch
11 Nov 02 |  England

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