Majority of Londoners have increased level of concern about climate change – new poll shows

Two-thirds of Londoners (66%) have had an increased level of concern about climate change in the last 12 months, new polling commissioned by London Councils reveals. 

In the second year of research polling by London Councils to gauge Londoners’ understanding of climate change and the effect it has on their lives, polling showed the vast majority of Londoners (82%) are concerned about climate change. This figure is identical to Londoners’ response to our polling last year, showing that Londoners recognise that the climate emergency remains a threat that must be addressed imminently. Furthermore, despite the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of people who responded saying their day-to-day decisions are influenced by climate change has increased from 59% to 61% over the last 12 months.

The majority of residents asked (56%) believe that everybody is responsible for preventing and adapting to climate change in London. A collaborative effort to safeguard London’s environmental future is essential across all of London’s diverse communities and shows that Londoners are ready to play their part in taking action against the climate emergency. The vast majority of Londoners (89%) surveyed are motivated to help prevent climate change.

However, half of Londoners (50%) agreed that Covid-19 has made it financially more difficult to take action to help prevent climate change. A higher proportion of ethnic minority people (61%) than white people (47%) agreed with this statement, reflecting the disproportionate impact of the pandemic. It is vital Londoners from all backgrounds are able to make greener choices if we are to make a just transition to a low-carbon society, no matter what their financial circumstances.

London boroughs recognise this and are calling on government for more funding in our key priorities for this year’s Spending Review. This includes starting to deliver the £98 billion of investment needed to retrofit all London homes to make them more energy efficient and delivering the £3.8 billion Social Housing Decarbonisation Fund and £2.5 billion Home Upgrade Grant. Along with this, financial incentives to encourage private retrofitting must be provided.

The polling showed that expense is a current barrier which prohibited respondents from choosing greener energy or heating options.  Over a third (37%) said it was too expensive to pay more for a greener heating option, and 29% said it was too expensive to replace gas heating with a lower carbon option, while 16% said they wouldn’t understand how to do this.

Boroughs are leading collaborative efforts to develop new sources of funding to meet Net Zero. London Councils has established the Cities Climate Investment Commission with Core Cities and Connected Place Catapult, which will attract large scale capital investment to support substantial greenhouse gas emission reductions. This will help to deliver the climate action we need, as well as creating local jobs and delivering cleaner, greener places to live.

The polling found that Londoners are already undertaking a number of actions that help to reduce their carbon footprint and some of these changes can be made at a low or even cheaper cost. A third of Londoners (33%) are going meat free once a week with nearly half of respondents (48%) saying they would or might consider doing so.

Boroughs are committed to tackling the climate emergency for all of London’s diverse communities. 31 London boroughs have now committed to net zero targets before 2050, and 26 have published final or draft Climate Action Plans setting out how they will meet those ambitions, with all boroughs due to publish a Climate Action Plan in due course.

Mayor Philip Glanville, Chair of London Councils’ Transport and Environment Committee, said:

“The second year of our polling shows that Londoners remain worried about the effects of climate change and the severe impact it has on our communities. While their concern is increasing, it isn’t leading to despair. Londoners clearly support ambitious action to reduce carbon emissions and want to be part of that change.  

“London boroughs are committed to listening to our residents and playing a leading role tackling the climate emergency. We are working with our communities and partners to inform and collaborate on green projects that embed a more just transition. We support people who wish to make greener choices, but we need more engagement and financial assurances from government if all our local communities are to make the transition to a low-carbon way of life.

“The survey has also highlighted anxiety over the financial cost of helping to prevent climate change, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic; we must see government and private sector action to help address these costs. We must ensure there is no false choice between economic and climate resilience, especially going into the Winter with rising fuel costs.

“With huge consensus on making a low carbon way of life a priority, we must listen to Londoners and act now to safeguard the future of our capital’s environment. Is it vital that we work in partnership to transform London into a city that is greener, more equal, healthy and sustainable for all Londoners and our diverse communities.”

London Councils is holding the Borough Climate Conference on 19 October, for officers and politicians within London boroughs to explore the challenges of climate action, how we can galvanise support for climate programmes and build momentum for this vital programme of work.


Notes to editors: 

1. This study was conducted in London via LondonBus, an Internet omnibus survey run by Research Express which is part of Kantar UK Ltd.
SAMPLE SIZE – a sample of 1,011 London adults 16+ were interviewed.

INTERVIEWING – Interviewing was conducted by online self-completion from 2nd to 7th September 2021.

WEIGHTING – The sample has been weighted to represent the adult population of London 16+.

LOW BASES – Where unweighted base figures are less than 100, data should be treated cautiously, as large margins of error are possible.

2. London Councils represents London’s 32 boroughs and the City of London. It is a cross-party organisation that works on behalf of all its member authorities regardless of political persuasion. More about London Councils here:

3. For the full report, please visit this link:  



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