The results from a recent county-wide survey by Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust (GWT) have revealed a public hunger to put the environment at the heart of plans to recover from COVID-19.
The Trust distributed the survey online for six weeks to discover what people want from life after lockdown – particularly in relation to the environment and climate change. It asked people to share their experiences during lockdown, how their behaviours might change in the future, key concerns for nature and the priorities for local and national authorities.
In total 1,201 people completed the survey. After analysis of the responses, a clear theme became apparent: people in Gloucestershire were eager to see the county build back better and build back greener from the pandemic.
A summary report published by the Trust demonstrates:
- 74% of respondents spent more time in nature during lockdown, many citing an improvement to their physical or mental health as a result
- 62% of respondents want councils to do more to tackle the nature and climate crises
- 68% were willing to make more journeys on foot
- 46% of respondents discovered new local green spaces and over a third wanted further investment in parks and local green spaces
- 51% said they wanted to buy more wildlife-friendly produce
In response to the survey’s findings, Roger Mortlock, CEO of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust said:
“We are blown away by the number of responses we’ve had to the survey. We know that people have enjoyed a closer relationship with nature during lockdown, but our survey shows that most are keen for that to continue.
“These results enable us to feedback to local decision makers in the county who are planning Gloucestershire’s recovery from COVID-19. We want to convince them to invest in a green recovery, mobilising natural solutions to tackle climate change and devoting 30% of land in Gloucestershire for nature's recovery.
“The climate and biodiversity emergencies haven’t gone away and we need to make sure that our post COVID-19 planning puts the environment at the heart of decision making about how we build Gloucestershire back better.”
GWT believes the recovery period is an opportunity to create a better and more sustainable Gloucestershire. For example, the organisation wants to see all new housing developments meet the Trust’s Building with Nature standard which ensures new development has a positive impact on wildlife. It also wants to see new green spaces created close to where people live, so that more people can enjoy the benefits of nature that have been so important during lockdown.
The Trust is asking people in Gloucestershire to write to their MP with this survey and let them know how the nature and climate crises need to be at the heart of plans for the future.