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    Energy Efficiency in Business

    Tuesday 7th July
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    Public support green recovery 12 June 2020

    New poll shows public support for a Green Recovery following COVID–19 experience (via RSPB NI)

    ORNI

    Darkley Forest Park in Co. Armagh. Image credit: Outdoor Recreation NI

    • 74% of respondents agree there should be new laws and policies to better protect nature, after experiencing the Coronavirus (COVID–19) emergency
    • Three out of four people surveyed have appreciated access to local green spaces since lockdown restrictions began
    • The survey, commissioned by RSPB NI and conducted by LucidTalk, targeted an established opinion panel that is demographically representative of NI
    • Opinion poll results echo asks within an open letter sent to the NI Executive and signed by businesses, charities and academics, calling for a Green Recovery
    • Opinion poll also finds overwhelming majority of respondents in favour of an independent Environmental Protection Agency and Climate Change Act for NI

    RSPB NI conducted a new opinion poll to understand the impact the COVID–19 pandemic has had on public attitudes towards nature and the environment in Northern Ireland.

    The survey of 1,851 people reveals 74% of respondents want new laws and policies to better protect nature, while 75% have appreciated access to local green spaces since the crisis began and over 50% are now more inclined to vote for a political party that prioritises investment in nature–rich green spaces. This demonstrates a clear link between current public opinion and a recent call from business, environmental and community groups who urged the NI Executive to increase space for nature and people and to strengthen nature’s protections as part of a Green Recovery.

    Pre–lockdown public opinion reinforced the Green Recovery asks; a survey conducted by RSPB NI in February 2020 (via LucidTalk) reveals that 83% of respondents want Northern Ireland to have an independent Environmental Protection Agency and 74% are in favour of a Climate Change Act in NI. As the only region in the UK and Ireland that has no specific legislation to support carbon reduction, 68% agree that NI should have a target to reach net zero emissions by 2045.

    Commenting on the findings, John Martin, Head of Policy and Advocacy RSPB NI said: “The decisions the government makes as we emerge from the COVID–19 crisis will affect our environment and community for decades to come. These results indicate that people are not only concerned about the threat of climate change and destruction of nature, but they are seeking political action in the form a Green Recovery to proactively protect, recover and enhance the environment for both people and nature to thrive.

    Now is the time for the Northern Ireland Assembly to bring forward proposals for a Climate Change Act and an independent Environmental Protection Agency in line with the commitments made within ‘New Decade New Approach’. Now that the Northern Ireland Assembly has supported a ‘Just and Green Economic Recovery after COVID–19 crisis’, there should be no delay.”

    The research conducted in February 2020 also demonstrated a clear alignment between public opinion and the open letter’s call for a more resilient economy, with 75% agreeing that a larger portion of funding should be given to farmers to help deliver environmental improvements and 87% in favour of measures to sustainably manage fish stocks.

    Read more here…