Almost three-quarters of Londoners (73%) say the cost-of-living crisis has made it more difficult for them to take action to help prevent climate change, new polling commissioned by London Councils reveals.
In the fourth year of research polling by London Councils to gauge Londoners’ understanding of climate change, respondents also said that cost is a barrier which limits Londoners from choosing greener heating or energy options, despite the fact that actions such as insulating their home could save them money in the long term.
Currently many Londoners say they find the cost of investing in some energy-saving and money-saving measures too high. For those Londoners surveyed who had not already implemented energy saving methods, nearly a third of people (29%) said it was too expensive to replace gas heating with a lower carbon option, such as heat pump or electric storage heaters and 34% said it was too expensive to install solar panels at home. Nearly a quarter of respondents (23%) who had not already implemented energy saving methods agreed it was too expensive to pay to insulate their homes. Elsewhere in the survey, 60% of Londoners say the cost-of-living crisis motivates them to do more on climate change if it also helps to reduce their costs.
London boroughs are responding to this challenge by improving the social housing they own to make it more energy efficient – for example by installing new wall insulation. Boroughs are also shifting how they use their planning powers so they incentivise developers to make newly-built homes and buildings energy efficient by design. Boroughs are also working with partners to install EV charge points in convenient locations making it easier for people to switch to this greener form of transport, to date boroughs have installed over 15,000 EV charge points.
Overall, the vast majority of Londoners (90%) surveyed are motivated to help prevent climate change. This is consistent with previous results, showing there is unwavering desire and motivation from Londoners to address the climate emergency. There is a great opportunity for London boroughs, national government and business to make the most of these high levels of motivation by galvanising the shift to a more sustainable way of living.
Cllr Kieron Williams, London Councils’ Executive Member for Climate Change, Transport and Environment, said:
“It is sobering to see that the ongoing cost-of-living crisis prevents Londoners from taking action on issues that are important to them, such an investing in climate action.
“68% of Londoners have grown more concerned about climate change over the past 12 months. It is inspiring to see that their motivation to take action to address climate change is consistently high year on year. Many are already making sustainable choices, such as recycling old clothes and electronics. However, almost three-quarters of Londoners say the cost-living-crisis is a significant barrier preventing them from investing in energy-saving measures.
“By committing to a London warm and green homes upgrade, we can bring down people’s energy usage, which in turn reduces bills and tackles fuel poverty. This is just one of the ways that climate action can contribute to equity and help disadvantaged Londoners.
“As COP28 begins and the world gathers to drive urgent solutions to the climate crisis, we must recognise that realising our climate goals will only be possible if everyone plays their part. London boroughs are in the very heart of our communities, and we have a clear understanding of how much they can achieve.
“Decision makers in London boroughs, national government and businesses must harness this motivation to bring in a new sustainable way of living that drives the green economy. That way, we can truly address the climate emergency, bring down people’s bills and bring in a greener, cleaner and healthier London from the ground up”.
London boroughs are tackling the climate emergency alongside all of London’s diverse communities. Boroughs have recently invested £2 million in the next phase of London Councils’ Climate Programme, accelerating local government’s collaborative work to address climate change. This will enable London boroughs to work better together to reduce carbon emissions, delivering net zero faster and more efficiently while improving air quality and enhancing economic and health benefits across the capital.
Notes to editors:
1) For full information on the London Councils’ Climate Polling 2023, please visit the London Councils website
2) For more information, download the London Councils' Climate Programme Implementation Plan.