Millions of UK adults would be willing to move away from their home town or city if it doesn’t become greener, a major nationwide survey has found.
The YouGov poll of 20,000 adults found that only 25% feel proud of the work that local communities and businesses are doing to invest in green initiatives.
As a result, 16% said that they would be willing to move to a different area of the country if their home town or city doesn’t become greener in the next five years, with 59% wanting more of a say in how taxpayers’ money is invested in green initiatives.
Similarly, 18% would be prepared to quit their job if their company didn’t become greener in the next 10 years, with Londoners showing the most willing, on 22%, followed by those in south-east and south-west England, on 21% and 20%, respectively.
Much of the desire for change is driven by taking action to protect future generations, with 76% agreeing that communities and businesses need to become greener for the benefit of their children and their children’s children.
“Too many people don’t feel listened to or say they aren’t playing a big enough part in decision making when it comes to green investments in their communities, which may be an uncomfortable truth for local leaders and businesses,” said Michael Lewis, chief executive of E.ON UK, which commissioned the research.
“However, the positive news is there’s immense interest and passion among people in helping to make their communities and workplaces cleaner and greener and we should all look to harness that commitment where we can.”
Three-fifths of those surveyed agreed that environmental change starts with communities and businesses, yet almost half said that their region is not doing enough to reduce carbon emissions and make life greener.
Only 7% said that they feel listened to when it comes to decision making around local green investments, with that number falling to just 5% in the north-west of England.
The top three actions that they want to see from their councils include: help to make homes greener and cheaper to run, reducing the carbon impact of public buildings, and making sure all new buildings are constructed to a net-zero standard, cited by 57%, 48% and 45%, respectively.
Meanwhile, the top three actions that they want to see employers include: making the office greener – such as through insulation, solar panels, heat pumps – making it easier to recycle, and banning the use of disposable plastics, cited by 45%, 44% and 34%, respectively.
“Conversations about lowering carbon emissions often focus on changes individual families can make, but there’s so much more we can all do to take action for climate and drive changes in public spaces, across communities and even in our workplaces,” Lewis continued.
“A bigger conversation undoubtedly leads to swifter and more impactful action and cities can help lead the charge on behalf of thousands, even millions of people.”
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