A growing number of Britons would move home or shift jobs if their communities or companies do not commit to going greener in the next decade, a major survey by E.ON of 10,000 adults has revealed.

Only one person in eight, or 13%, says their local communities are investing enough in becoming more sustainable.

The study quantifies growing public demand for more sustainable energy – allied to cleaner air in cities and greater investment in greener lifestyles.

23% of people flatly say they’d consider moving away if their city or town does not become greener.  That figure has risen by almost half from a similar nationwide E.ON survey from 2022, when 16% of people made the same claim.

In workplaces, 26% of people said they would be prepared to quit their job if the company didn’t become greener in the next five years, rising from 18% in 2022.

E.ON’s study of 10,000 people across Britain highlights widespread discontent at the speed investment programmes are being rolled out. 51% of respondents don’t think the country is working fast enough to reduce carbon emissions. Fewer than one in ten – 8% –  feel listened to on decisions around local green investments.

A meagre 8% –  up from 7% in 2022-  feel listened to when decisions are made about local green investments, including energy generation. That number falls to just 6% in the North, Wales, and across the Midlands.

Energy co-ops give local agency as well as power 

Only 10% of respondents expressed pride in their local communities’ efforts to invest in green initiatives. The lowest levels of pride are in the East Midlands, East of England, North East and North West.

Across the UK, 60% of adults want more say in how taxpayers’ money is invested in green initiatives for businesses and communities, peaking in the South of England & London, both on 63% and Scotland, 59%.

E.ON UK chief executive Chris Norbury observed: “This survey shows public attitudes & ambitions towards building more sustainable communities are growing year on year. It’s on all of us across business, public life and within our communities to respond to that clamour for change.

“Investing in sustainability brings so many social benefits and it’s something absolutely everyone can see the value of, whether that’s helping people with lower energy bills, cleaning the air in our streets, or creating the jobs and skills we need for the future. What we call the energy transition has benefits right across society and we have to share that message wider.

“While our study highlights frustration among the public around the speed and scale of sustainable investment, it also demonstrates people understand and really want the benefits such investment will bring. Chief among these is the positive impact on jobs and prosperity.”

74% of people agree environmental change starts with communities or businesses, yet two in five (39% – although a reduction from 46% in 2022 – ) do not think that their region is doing enough to reduce carbon emissions and make life greener.

Leading the way among potential home-movers, more than a third (34%) of Londoners threatening to move if their city doesn’t become greener in the next five to ten years.

The top five sustainable improvements people would like to see in their community emerge as :

  • Making homes greener & cheaper to run – 55%
  • Reducing public buildings’ carbon impact – 47%
  • Create more green spaces in built up urban areas – 44%
  • Make sure all new building projects are completed to Net Zero targets – 43%
  • Electrify all public transport – 36%

Old and young generations agree. More than three quarters of all age groups say communities (76%) and businesses (77%) need to become greener for the benefit of younger generations.

People younger than 24 were twice as likely to cite the sustainability credentials of a business as a reason to work there; 43% versus 18% in the over 55s.  Youngsters were twice as likely to move companies if their employer did not take steps to go greener (42% versus 16%).


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