Less than a fifth of Brits are willing to drive or fly less

A new survey revealing British opinions on the environment on issues including transport, waste and recycling was published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) on Tuesday.

The study – called the 2007 Survey of Public Attitudes and Behaviours toward the environment – takes a look at what people in England think and how they behave across a range of issues relevant to the environment.

Three quarters of people believe that if most people in the UK recycled more, cut down their car use or flew less, it would have a major or medium impact on the UK’s contribution to climate change. However, although 60% of people are willing to recycle more, less than a fifth are willing to use a car less, or fly less.

About a quarter of people agreed with statements such as “It takes too much effort to do things that are environmentally friendly”, and “I don’t believe my behaviour and everyday lifestyle contribute to climate change.” However, about half disagreed.

Over a half of people report that they never leave their televisions on standby overnight, their mobile phone chargers plugged in or lights on in rooms when not in them.

However, approximately a fifth say they always leave the televisions on standby overnight, and a similar proportion that they always leave the tap running when brushing their teeth.

The proportion of people recycling paper, glass and plastic has almost doubled since 2001. In 2007, approximately 75% of people said they recycled these materials, mainly via regular doorstep collection.

Of the issues people think government should be dealing with, the environment was the fourth most commonly mentioned behind crime, health and education.

Dana Gornitzki

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