Large majority of Londoners feel climate change is a significant threat to the capital – new poll reveals

  • By MadeleineHardy

Seven out of ten Londoners agree that tackling climate change is a priority for the capital, new polling commissioned by London Councils reveals. 

In the first research poll by London Councils to gauge Londoners’ understanding of climate change and the effect it has on their lives, the vast majority of Londoners (82%) are concerned about climate change with half of concerned respondents going further saying they are very concerned (40%). Over half of respondents (52%) feel their day-to-day life in London had been impacted by climate change. 

With growing awareness of the challenges the climate emergency will pose in the future, Londoners recognise that this is a threat that must be addressed imminently, with 57% saying their level of concern has increased in the last 12 months. Overall, respondents vastly agree (71%) that addressing climate change is a priority for London. 

While this is a positive message from Londoners, there is still a long way to go. Practical actions need to be taken if our city is going to address the climate emergency. The polling reveals that although almost half (46%) of Londoners act on smaller day to day decisions, only a quarter act on major purchases with a bigger impact such as buying a house or car. Londoners are willing to live in sustainable housing and travel sustainably, but face cost and availability issues. Only 30% of people are insulating their homes with lack of availability (27%) and cost (18%) as the main barriers for those who might, were not or were not definitely considering insulating their homes. For those not definitely considering buying an electric or hybrid car, cost was a factor for around a quarter of respondents.

The majority of residents asked (56%) believe that everybody is responsible for preventing and adapting to climate change in London. A collaborative effort is essential across London’s communities to make sure we safeguard London’s environmental future. Every Londoner can play their part even by making small changes. Respondents overwhelmingly agree that now was the time to act with 87% saying they are motivated to help prevent climate change.

London boroughs are committed to leading the way in tackling the climate emergency, by working with our communities and partners to inform and collaborate on green projects. They also continue to call on the government to increase funding for councils to combat climate change, most recently asking for £115m to retrofit buildings to make them more energy efficient.

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

“Our new polling drives home the fact that Londoners are becoming more aware of the effects of climate change and that it is having a big impact on our communities.

“Research has suggested that Londoners need to reduce their consumption-based emissions by two thirds by 2030 to make a fair contribution to avoiding an increase in global temperatures of over 1.5 degrees. This will require significant changes to the way we live, with public support and participation being key to transitioning to a low-carbon economy and lifestyle.

“Climate change is a significant threat to London and Londoners but acting to address it now has significant benefits for public health and wellbeing, as well as social justice issues like fuel poverty and air pollution. 

“With huge consensus on making this a priority, we must act quickly and work together to reduce its severity and ensure a just transition. By being prepared and proactive, we can adapt in the face of the climate emergency to protect London’s future.”

This research is being published in the second year of London Climate Action Week, which brings together a world-leading array of climate professionals and communities to discuss solutions to climate change. London Councils will be hosting a panel discussion on this public polling and how these insights can help London become a more sustainable city on Tuesday 17 November. For more information on how to attend the event please click here



Notes to editors: 

1. This study was conducted in London via OnLineBus, an Internet omnibus survey run by Research Express which is part of Kantar UK Ltd.

SAMPLE SIZE – a sample of 1,006 London adults 16+ were interviewed.

INTERVIEWING - Interviewing was conducted by online self-completion from 15th - 19th October 2020 (Week 42).

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. To request an interview or further information, please contact the London Councils press team - [email protected]