What climate change measures would Britons support?

Connor IbbetsonData Journalist
October 31, 2021, 8:37 AM UTC

One in ten would back an immediate ban on meat and dairy products

You can also read our accompanying article on how support for climate change measures relates with the perceived effectiveness of such measures

The postponed COP-26 summit gets underway in Glasgow today. World leaders and representatives are gathering to discuss what measures humanity can take to halt or slow the progress of climate change. A vast array of measures are sure to be mulled over, but which would Britons support?

Topping the list are plants, 92% of Britons would support a commitment to plant more trees in the UK’s green spaces – 17,000 are due to be planted near to the conference itself. Similarly, 86% of people would support protection and restoration of the UK’s natural ecosystems.

There is similar support for a crackdown on packaging: 85% would back tougher regulations on the amount of packing materials retailers are allowed to use, and another 81% would support a total ban on single use plastics.

Britons are also supportive of measures to cut pollution from homes, including 84% who would support subsidies to make houses more energy-efficient such as the recently announced £5,000 heat pump grant. In perhaps welcome news to Insulate Britain, three quarters of people (76%) would also support introducing strict new rules for how energy-efficient homes must be, such as improved insulation and properly fitted windows and doors.  

Nearly two-thirds of Britons (64%) would also support switching the UK to only renewable energy sources. Another 45% of people, including 63% of those aged 65+ but only 21% of younger adults, would support a ban on cryptocurrency – which uses a large amount of energy to generate. Bitcoin alone uses the same amount of energy as the entire nation of Finland.

Further to this, Britons are broadly supportive of measures to tax those who produce the most pollution. Some 82% would support taxes for companies who produce substantial carbon emissions, and 60% would back a frequent flyer levy.

However, support is less forthcoming for other measures around air travel: only 28% would back a blanket levy on flights increasing all flight costs by 50%, and only 16% would back a total ban on holiday and leisure flights.

Support for measures around day-to-day travel is also weaker, but does include 43% who would support the creation of more congestion zones around the UK, and 42% who would back increasing the charge in current congestion zones.

A similar proportion of people (39%) would approve banning the production, and sale of, petrol and diesel cars. Another 39% would support reducing the number of petrol stations and increasing electric vehicle charge points, but only 26% would support an increase fuel duty, the tax drivers pay on fuel.

Britons are also less sure of measures concerning foods. While 83% of people would support investing in British production, to limit environmental cost of importing, only one in five (21%) would support banning the sale of all fruit and vegetables imported into the UK.

Similarly, only 21% would limit the amount of meat and dairy products people can buy per week, but one in ten people (10%) would support an outright ban on the sale of meat and products in the UK. Among those aged between 18 and 24 – support for a ban on animal food produce rises to one in five (22%) versus only 6% of those aged 65 and over.

See the full results