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SEABS'08: The Scottish Environmental Attitudes and Behaviours Survey 2008

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BEHAVIOURS AND BARRIERS

TRAVEL BEHAVIOURS - TRAVEL BY CAR

Driving by car is the most common mode of transport for respondents to travel to work and do grocery shopping. The majority of respondents in employment travel to work in a car, either themselves (56%) or by getting a lift from someone else (6%). In comparison, 16% walk, 12% travel by bus and 5% travel by train.

Respondents who drive to work were asked why they choose to drive rather than use alternative modes of transport. Respondents were most likely to say:

  • Travel by car is quicker and more convenient (50%).
  • They need the car for work (20%).
  • There is a lack of, or problems with, public transport services; including no direct public transport services (18%), or public transport takes too long (13%).

Similarly, the majority of respondents drive (54% drive themselves, 9% get a lift) to the place where they do their main food and grocery shopping. Other most common modes of transport to do the main food and grocery shopping were walking (22%) and using a bus (11%).

As was the case with those who drive to work, the main reasons given by respondents who drive to do their main food and grocery shopping is that the car is quicker and more convenient (54%). Overall, 44% said it is too heavy to carry shopping on public transport or by foot.

The prominence of driving in respondents' lives is reflected by how often respondents use different modes of transport. Nearly half (45%) said they use a car as a driver most days, while a further 15% use a car as a passenger most days. By comparison 18% of respondents said they use the bus most days and 3% said they use the train most days. Overall, 27% of respondents never use buses.

Deep Greens and Light Greens were more likely to cycle to work than Shallow Greens, the Distanced and the Disengaged.

TRAVEL BEHAVIOURS - TRAVEL BY AIR

Just under half of respondents (46%) have taken a flight in the last 12 months for holidays or visiting friends or family. The most common destination for leisure journeys made by air was Europe. Overall, 33% of respondents had flown to Europe in the last 12 months, while 17% had flow to somewhere in the UK (outside Scotland), 15% to outside of Europe, and 4% had flown within Scotland.

Respondents who made a flight within the UK or Scotland for holidays or visiting friends or family were asked why they used air travel rather than using alternative modes of transport. Respondents were most likely to give one of two reasons: it is quicker/easiest/most convenient (74%); and flying is cheaper than alternative options (27%).

Compared to flights taken for holidays or visiting friends or family, respondents were less likely to have taken flights for work or business purposes, with 17% of workers saying they have taken a flight for this reason in the last twelve months. The most common destination for work journeys made by air was to somewhere in the UK, outside of Scotland. Overall, 12% of working respondents had flown to somewhere in the UK (outside Scotland), while 7% had flown to somewhere within Europe, 5% to outside of Europe, and 4% had flown within Scotland for work in the last twelve months.

The reasons respondents give for using air travel within the UK for work or business purposes rather than other means are that it is: quicker/easiest/most convenient (67%); it is cheaper (16%); and that there was no alternative (16%).

HOUSEHOLD ENERGY USE

Nearly all respondents in Scotland use electricity (98%) or gas (79%) for lighting, heating and power. Only a small proportion of respondents (less than 1%) said they obtain fuel from micro-generation.

Asked about their current use of gas and electricity compared with a year ago, respondents who use these types of fuel were most likely to say they were using about the same amount (electricity users - 55% and gas users - 58%). Overall, 21% said they were using less electricity/gas now compared with one year ago. Fewer respondents said they were now using more gas and electricity (15% and 16% respectively) than a year ago.

Figure 5: Amount of electricity and gas used compared with a year ago

Q. Ignoring any increases in the cost of electricity in the last year, compared with a year ago, do you think you are using more, less, or about the same amount of electricity?

Q. Ignoring any increases in the cost of gas in the last year, compared with a year ago, do you think you are using more, less, or about the same amount of gas?

Figure 5: Amount of electricity and gas used compared with a year ago

Base: All who use elecricity (3,007); all who use gas (2,408)

Analysis by the engagement typology finds that the Deep Green grouping were more likely than all of the other groupings to say they use less electricity and/ or gas than a year ago.

Those who thought they were using more electricity now than 12 months ago were asked why they were doing so. The most common reasons were: more electrical appliances in the household (30%); and a change to the number of respondents living in the household (19%). A quarter of respondents (25%) said they did not know why they were now using more electricity.

Similarly, those who said they were using more gas than they did 12 months ago were asked why this was the case. Again, the two most common reasons were a change in the number of occupants living in the household (21%) and an increase in the number of household appliances (12%). Around a third of respondents (32%) said they did not know why they were using more gas.

Respondents who said they were using less electricity or gas were also asked why they were doing so. Respondents gave two key reasons:

  • As a result of the increased cost/to save money (electricity - 67%; gas - 68%).
  • Environmental concerns (electricity - 16%; gas - 13%).

While the majority of respondents said they could accurately estimate, to the nearest £20, the amount that they spend on each month on gas and electricity (66% and 68% respectively), a significant minority - around a third (34% and 32% respectively) of respondents - said they could not.

IMPORTANCE OF EVERYDAY ENERGY-SAVING BEHAVIOURS

Respondents were presented with a list of day-to-day energy-saving behaviours and were asked how important they think it is that people do each. Most respondents said that it's important that people:

94% Turn off lights in rooms that aren't being used.

91% Hang their washing up to dry rather than using a tumble dryer in the summer.

90% Use energy saving light bulbs where possible.

83% Avoid filling the kettle with more water than they are going to use.

73% Turn off the heating when they go out for a few hours in the winter.

72% Turn off the tap when brushing their teeth.

However, a proportion of respondents said it is not important for respondents to turn off the heating when they go out for a few hours in the winter (25%) or turn off the tap when brushing their teeth (27%).

The most engaged typology groupings were generally more likely than the less engaged groupings to rate each of the behaviours as important.

RECYCLE, REDUCE, REUSE

Respondents were also asked how often they reuse a variety of everyday items. Most respondents sometimes use their own shopping bags or boxes, with 48% saying they use them every time. Similarly, the majority of respondents claim to carry out the following behaviours every time:

28% Donate items to the charity shop.

21% Reuse wrapping paper/gift bags.

23% Reuse plastic food containers.

17% Use rechargeable batteries.

16% Reuse plastic drink bottles.

A significant proportion of respondents said that they never use rechargeable batteries 38%, plastic drinks bottles 36%, wrapping paper/gift bags 24% and plastic food containers 25%.

Respondents who said they did not use their own shopping bags or boxes every time were asked why they did not do so more often. The reason most commonly given was that they forget to take them with them when they go shopping 54%. Respondents were less likely to mention other reasons, including: laziness 9%; they just do not think about it 9%; they do not plan when they go shopping 7%; and the shop supplies bags/boxes so they do not need to bring their own 6%.

Respondents were more likely to make use of kerbside recycling services than other recycling facilities, such as bottle banks. Kerbside paper recycling collection services, where available, were used by 84% of respondents at least sometimes; with 76% saying they use such facilities every time.

By comparison, they use other recycling services and facilities less often:

72% use the kerbside garden waste recycling collection, where available, every time.

63% use the kerbside can recycling collection, where available, every time.

60% use the kerbside bottle recycling collection where available every time.

44% use other bottle recycling facilities, where kerbside services are not provided, every time.

41% use other paper recycling facilities, where kerbside services are not provided, every time.

33% use other can recycling facilities, where kerbside services are not provided, every time.

19% of respondents with a garden use a home composting heap or bin, or worm farm every time.

KNOWLEDGE OF WHITE GOODS' ENERGY EFFICIENCY RATINGS

Respondents were asked whether they have bought a number of white goods in the past two years and, if so, whether they were aware of the energy efficiency rating of their new item. For the three items most commonly purchased in the past two years - television; fridge or freezer or fridge freezer; and washing machine - the majority of respondents said they did not know what the energy efficiency was (82%, 54% and 53% respectively).

GROCERY SHOPPING

Asked about the types of products they buy, respondents were most likely to buy (at least sometimes): free-range eggs (76%); free-range poultry (52%) and eco-friendly cleaning products (40%). Just under half buy (at least sometimes) recycled toilet paper (39%) and organic carrots (34%). Respondents were far less likely to purchase eco-friendly clothing (18%) or organic cows' milk (12%).

Respondents were asked what, if anything, stops them from buying food produced locally - in Scotland - rather than food produced in other countries. A third (34%) of respondents said they already buy as much locally produced food as they can. Around a fifth (21%) said that locally produced food is more expensive, while 13% said locally produced food is not available in their area. Less than one in ten respondents said they like to eat a variety of foods (7%) or do not pay much attention to where the food they buy is produced (7%).

Supermarkets were by far the most popular places to buy groceries, with almost all (97%) respondents saying they visit supermarkets at least once a month, and around half (52%) saying they do most of their grocery shopping in supermarkets. Meanwhile, around two in five respondents said they visit small independent shops (40%) and convenience stores or corner shops (35%). Very few people said they regularly buy groceries from other types of shop - for example, only around one in ten said they visit farmers' markets (9%) or health food shops (7%) at least once a month. Deep Greens were the grouping most likely to visit shops other than supermarkets.