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The British Social Attitudes Survey 2010: Attitudes to Transport

The Deparment for Transport has published its 2010 report which reveals a declining level of concern for the environment and and the usual complex tangle of human inconsistencies and hypocrisies.

  • 68% of respondents said that they were very or fairly concerned about the effect of transport on climate change (down seven percentage points since 2009).
  • 64% of respondents agreed that the current level of car use has a serious effect on climate change (down from 73% in 2009) and 66% agreed that the current level of air travel has a serious effect on climate change (this had also fallen from 71% in 2009).
  • Nearly half of respondents said that for the sake of the environment they now cut down their driving speed to save petrol (48%) or that they now walked rather than driving to local shops and services (45%) a bit more or a lot more than they did 2-3 years ago. Overall, four of the six indicators that gauge environmentally friendly transport activities were marginally lower than in 2009. The other two showed no significant change.
  • Attitudes towards flying appear to be bounded to some extent by concerns about damage to the environment by aviation and the need to extend capacity: 64% of respondents agreed that people should be able to travel by plane as much as they like; of this, 36% that people should be able to travel by plane as much as they like, even if new terminals or runways are needed to meet the demand, and 18% agreed that people should be able to travel by plane as much as they like, even if this harms the environment. In contrast to this, 27% agreed that people should be allowed to use their cars as much as they like, even if it causes damage to the environment.
  • While 42% of respondents agreed that the price of a plane ticket should reflect the environmental damage that flying causes, even if this makes air travel more expensive; people are less inclined to agree that for the sake of the environment, car users should pay higher taxes (15%).
  • 57% of respondents agreed that people who drive cars that are better for the environment should pay less to use the roads than people whose cars are more harmful to the environment (down from 63% in 2009) and 58% of respondents agreed that for the sake of the environment, everyone should reduce how much they use their cars. However, 18% agreed that anyone who thinks that reducing their own car use will help the environment is wrong.

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Publication
25 Apr 2011
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