Which aspects of lockdown will Britons miss? Less pollution and more family time

Eir NolsoeData Journalist
April 15, 2021, 10:40 AM UTC

Many Britons say they will long for cleaner air, less traffic and fewer planes in the sky once lockdown is over – although two in five are adamant they won’t miss a thing

After a year with draconian restrictions, the end is in sight. But many Britons wish they could retain some aspects of life in lockdown. The most common thing that people mention is less road and air traffic, and cleaner air and streets, at 11%. Studies have shown that air pollution has dropped significantly during the pandemic.

Some respondents also noticed that reduced traffic and planes have made other sounds more audible. One person said: “Clear skies, no planes and less traffic: more birdsong as a result”. Some 6% also simply said “the peace and quiet”.

Men are more likely than women to mention quieter and cleaner streets and air at 14% vs 8%. Geographically, Londoners are the least likely to mention it at 4%, compared with 15% of Southerners.

Many will also miss being able to spend more time with their family, partner, pets or their bubble, at 8%. This is much more common among women than men at 11% vs 5%.

Some 7% of Britons have also relished the slower and simpler way of life, feeling less stressed and having more time in general. Additionally, 2% specifically felt grateful for the chance to have more alone time, while 2% went one step further saying they will miss being able to avoid people they don’t want to see. Separate YouGov research has shown that many Britons planned to use coronavirus as an excuse to not see people they were allowed to see over Christmas.  

Meanwhile, 6% of Britons say they will yearn for the lockdown days when they could work or study from home, while 2% explicitly mention not having to commute.

Some people have also enjoyed a FOMO-free existence with no social obligations. One in twenty Britons (5%) say they will miss the lack of pressure to socialise, spend money and do things in their spare time. One person said: “There’s something quite calming about knowing that nothing is going on so you aren’t missing anything”.

Approaching two fifths of the public (37%) are convinced they won’t miss anything. This figure is highest among older people, with around half of those aged 65+ (48%) expecting not to look back. Britons aged 25 to 49 are the least likely to say they won’t miss anything at 30%.

See the full results here