Government looks at public willingness to go green

Defra has been looking at public attitudes on the environment in an effort to draw up plans on how people might most effectively be persuaded to make positive changes to their lifestyles.

Changes in individual's car use could make a significant impact

Changes in individual's car use could make a significant impact

The department has been conducting research which looks at why individuals and communities change their behaviour and how they might be persuaded to do so more often.

The research is supposed to improve Government understanding of the public's attitudes on the environment and help policy makers support different groups of people's efforts to take action.

It also identifies 12 areas where campaigns to encourage the public to take action are likely to meet with the most success.

These 12 areas are:

  • use more efficient vehicles;
  • use cars less for short trips;
  • avoid unnecessary short haul flights;
  • use water responsibly;
  • install insulation / microgeneration;
  • management of energy usage;
  • recycle more;
  • waste less food;
  • buy energy efficient products;
  • eat more food that is locally in season;
  • adopt a lower impact diet.

    Environment Minister Joan Ruddock said: "We all need to do our bit to tackle climate change. Most people want to do something but sometimes don't know how. This report will help Government and stakeholders reach people and empower them to make changes in their lives today that will make a big difference tomorrow."

    In recognition of the important role the voluntary sector plays in influencing pro-environmental behaviour, Joan Ruddock also announced that a new grant scheme will be set up to support voluntary organisations to encourage people to adopt a greener lifestyle.

    Stephen Hale, Director of the Green Alliance, a coalition of NGOs, said: "2008 can be a landmark year for government action to help every one of us reduce our environmental impact. Government has a critical role in enabling us to act.

    "This report demonstrates public support for action, and contains the evidence needed to design and implement new and successful policies."

    Sam Bond

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