A survey of more than 2,000 UK voters, in which all major political preferences were accounted for, has revealed that the majority of Brits want a “green” recovery from Covid-19, in which measures designed to boost the economy also serve to reduce pollution and emissions.
Conducted by Ipsos Mori on behalf of the Conservative Environment Network (CEN), the survey asked 2,178 people for their views on the environmental aspects of the UK’s Covid-19 recovery plan. This cohort was selected to ensure representation in line with the national population on gender, age, geographical location and political leaning.
More than two-thirds of the respondents (67%) said that a failure to tackle the UK’s existing social and environmental issues through new funding and policy measures would be “bad for the economy in the long-run”, reducing international competitiveness as green legislation strengthens globally, while leaving businesses and communities poorly prepared to weather future shocks. This view was held by 62% of those who voted Conservative at the 2019 general election.
Higher still was the proportion of respondents who said they would take a Covid-19 recovery package centred around high-carbon industries and infrastructure as a “sign that the government has got the wrong priorities” and “does not listen to ordinary people” – 69%. Support was found to be particularly low for stings-free bailouts for the road construction and car manufacturing sectors and particularly high for additional funding for the renewable energy generation and nature conservation sectors, on a national basis.
On a local basis, half of the respondents said they would strongly support programmes to make schools, hospitals, care homes and housing more energy-efficient. Expanding local airports and road building were found to be the least popular projects, receiving just 6% and 9% support respectively.
The survey was carried out before Boris Johnson delivered his ‘build, build, build’ speech on Tuesday (30 June), in which he outlined the basic facets of the UK’s recovery package. While many key figures welcomed the package’s provisions on nature, healthcare and schools, the general consensus is that the plan is not yet “green”. Further specifics are due to be announced by the Treasury in the coming weeks.
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