Concerns over climate change, the environment and pollution shot to the top of the agenda as the Cop26 summit took place in Glasgow, polling shows.
Four in 10 people said climate, environment and pollution were a major issue for Britain in Ipsos MORI’s issues index in November, the highest ever score for the topic since it was included in October 1988.
The environmental issues jumped 16 percentage points from October to top the list of concerns for the nation this month, above the pandemic, Brexit, the NHS and the economy.
It is only the third time in more than 30 years the environment has been top of the list of important issues facing the country in the polling.
The survey of 1,009 British adults, which took place as the UN climate summit and protests over climate action dominated the headlines earlier this month, also found more than a fifth of people (21%) cited environmental concerns as the single most important issue for the country – the highest of any issue.
Concern over the climate, environment and pollution is equally high for Labour and Conservative voters, the polling shows, and similar for different social grades.
But the over-55s have the highest concern for the environment, with 47% citing it as a major issue, compared to 43% of those aged 35-54 and only slightly over a quarter (27%) of the 18-to-34 age group, who had Covid-19 as a bigger issue with 31% flagging it as a major concern.
Michael Clemence, associate research director at Ipsos MORI, said: “Concern about the environment and climate change has reached its highest-ever score in this month’s Ipsos MORI issues index – likely an impact of the Cop26 conference.
“There is also widespread agreement on this priority across different groups including across supporters of both the Labour and Conservative parties, although younger people stand out as putting Covid-19 marginally ahead.”