News & Stories
Clean Air Day campaign launches first UK-wide quarterly air pollution survey – to guide the development of public awareness campaigns on air pollution
- 83% of adults believe that their health is impacted by outdoor air pollution
- 65% of the public don’t know who to turn to for information and advice on air quality.
- 92% of adults do think that reducing air quality should be a priority for the UK.
Air pollution is a complex issue for the public, and negative impacts can arise from the confusion caused by it, such as people driving their children to school in the misguided belief that they are protected from pollution inside cars. This - together with 65% of the public saying that they don’t know who to turn to for information and advice on air quality – shows that an accurate and up-to-date understanding of public awareness, attitudes and behaviour is urgently needed at the heart of all interventions that aim to improve air quality.
There is a need for more public funding so that people across the UK know where they can turn to for information and advice, and to make sure that health professionals are armed with the right kind of information.
Supportive public attitudes are also vital to encourage the local government-led action that will transform our cities. It is important that we have an accurate understanding of public perception of these interventions in order to guide those who are developing future communications.
Global Action Plan, the charity which co-ordinates Clean Air Day and insight partners Opinium, have established the first regular UK-wide survey of public awareness, attitudes and actions on air pollution. The Clean Air Public Insight Tracker (CAPIT) provides insight on how the public are modifying their behaviour in response to air pollution and recent policy initiatives to tackle it. Based on 2,000 adult respondents, CAPIT is a regular quarterly source of insight which communicators and policymakers can rely on. A set of questions will be repeated each quarter to track changes over time, whilst some ‘guest questions’ will shed extra insight on specific elements of air quality, such as public knowledge on the causes of indoor air pollution. Each quarter, the data and summary report will be made publicly available for free, to boost the knowledge base for the whole sector.
Chris Large, Senior Partner at Global Action Plan said: ”We must let the public guide us with their level of concern and desire for action, how they have responded to the advice they have been given and the help they need to minimise local air pollution. The Clean Air Day campaign, as the lead UK-wide public engagement resource on air quality, with our 200-strong local authority and health organisation supporter community, is where this guidance can most effectively be sourced and implemented.”
Kate Whiffen, Partner at Opinium “We are delighted to be supporting Global Action Plan with such an important national survey which will be vital in helping to raise awareness around the issues of air pollution. Air pollution is having a devastating impact on the general health of the nation and our research shows that there are still a huge number of misconceptions out there around the dangers of air pollution. More education needs to be done around the causes of both indoor and outdoor air pollution, and who citizens can turn to for advice and support. Since supporting our work with Global Action Plan I have become more aware of the problems we are facing and I have actively changed some of my behaviour to help fight it, starting by cycling to the station to and from work, for instance! “
The first edition has uncovered that:
- There is a high level of public concern: 92% of adults think that reducing air quality should be a priority for the UK.
- The public are worried about their health, but 65% don’t know who to turn to for information and advice. 83% of adults believe that their health is impacted by outdoor air pollution.
- The indoor air pollution problem remains poorly appreciated. Almost as many people believe it has no impact on their health (32%) as those who feel it has a moderate or major impact on their health (36%).
- Promising adoption of brand new actions - over the past month 36% of the public have frequently or occasionally used a click and collect service, whilst 4% have driven an electric vehicle in the past 3 months (a higher percentage than the current proportion of electric cars amongst the UK’s fleet).
- The two most popular actions the public expects from the government and business are switching fleets to electric vehicles (27%) and levying access charges for the most polluting vehicles in towns and cities (22%).
- Putting electric vehicle charging points in public car parks was twice as popular as putting them ‘in my street’ (20% and 10% respectively).
Online survey conducted by Opinium Research between 3 to 5 December 2018, among 2006 nationally representative UK adults.
This year, Clean Air Day is taking place on Thursday 20th June. Visit the campaign website for more information about the actions everyone can take.
To get involved in Clean Air Day or find out how to become a supporter, contact [email protected] and sign up to our newsletter to be kept in the loop as the campaign develops and to receive the quarterly survey results.
Notes to editors:
Global Action Plan is a charity established in 1993 that connects what’s good for us and what’s good for the planet, through work on clean air, challenging consumerism and programmes with young people and business. globalactionplan.org.uk
Clean Air Day is the UK’s largest air quality awareness campaign, established in 2017. In 2018, campaign messages achieved a reach of 1 billion, with 2,000 organisations involved in 550 events throughout the UK. This year it is taking place on Thursday 20th June 2019. cleanairday.org.uk. @cleanairdayuk