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Public concern about the environment is increasing according to a...
Public concern about the environment is increasing according to a

DEFRA survey. 25% of respondents placed the environment alongside

health, education and crime as one of the most important issues

facing the government.

Most people were very worried about the disposal of hazardous waste,

the effects of livestock rearing methods, pollution of rivers and

bathing water and traffic exhaust fumes.

Over half of the respondents claimed they regularly recycled paper

and two fifths recycled glass.

Overall, five out of six people regarded their quality of life as

'fairly' or 'very good', and most people were optimistic about the


Commenting on the survey, environment minister Michael Meacher said:

'This survey shows that people really are concerned about their

environment and the impact which today's lifestyles are having on it.

They are becoming more aware of the big issues like climate change,

and beginning to see it as important for both themselves and for the

government to address.

'But it is clear that we have not yet got some vital messages across.

Only two fifths of the people in this survey were trying to regularly

use their cars less or cut down on gas or electricity.

'It is not sufficient for us all to realise that the environment is a

top priority issue if we are not going to do our bit to tackle the

problems. I'm very pleased to see that many people are becoming more

aware of headline concerns like climate change and sustainable



1. Full results of the survey are available in the report: 'Survey of

public attitudes to quality of life and to the environment - 2001'.

This publication, priced£11, is available from Defra Publications

Tel: 08459 556000 and on the DEFRA website. Selected results have

been published earlier in two DEFRA publications: 'The Environment in

Your Pocket' (2001) and 'Achieving a better quality of life: Review of

progress towards sustainable development' (March 2002).

2. The 'Survey of public attitudes towards the environment and quality

of life - 2001' is the fifth in the series. The survey was conducted

amongst adults aged 18 and over in England, and follows similar

surveys conducted in England and Wales in 1986, 1989, 1993, and

1996/7. It was designed to be broadly consistent with these earlier

surveys to allow comparisons to be made. However, changes were made

to the survey content, mostly by the addition of new questions. In

particular, questions on quality of life issues were introduced. The

sample size was also increased to allow some analysis of results at

regional level. Over 3,700 people were interviewed (a survey response

rate of 68.4 per cent), across the nine English government office

Regions, compared with 1,780 in the 1996/7 survey, covering both

England and Wales.

3. The survey was commissioned by DEFRA's environment protection

statistics and information management division. The office for

national statistics undertook the fieldwork on behalf of the

department between January and April 2001.

4. The contents of the report are National Statistics. National

statistics are produced to high professional standards set out in the

National Statistics Code of Practice. They undergo regular quality

assurance reviews to ensure they meet customer needs.

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