Research commissioned by the EPA to coincide with the publication of its EPA 2019 Year in Review report found that 78 per cent of people surveyed said they have personally taken steps to help the environment, and that 87 per cent of adults in Ireland recognise the importance of the environment as an asset to the country. The Red C poll carried out in January 2020 explored attitudes towards environmental issues.
Interestingly, the research highlighted that – although people have taken steps to help the environment – only 23 per cent are willing to pay environmental charges or taxes. Furthermore, taxation was perceived as an area of environmental policy that affected them personally the most.
Commenting on the survey, Laura Burke, Director General of the EPA said,
“It is extremely encouraging to see that so many people have taken personal steps to protect the environment, as the EPA strives to engage the public on environmental issues. While we are encouraged by many of the positive findings in our research, it is clear that more work needs to be done to tackle environmental issues at a societal level.
The survey also found that climate change, water quality, environment and health and taxation were the areas of environmental policy that people felt affected them personally. From those results we can see that people recognise the link between threats to the environment and the impact on the lives of individuals and communities. The EPA plays a key role in monitoring threats, informing the public and enforcing regulatory measures and our Year in Review 2019 demonstrates progress in several areas, including licensing and enforcement, citizen engagement and air quality monitoring.”
The Year in Review 2019 highlights the progress achieved by the EPA in 2019. In terms of Air Quality, the EPA continued to strengthen the capacity and capability of the ambient air quality monitoring network and added 19 new monitoring stations in 2019, bringing the total to 69. In Licensing and Enforcement, the National Priority Sites for Enforcement List continued to be a driving force for change and 2019 saw the number of priority sites reduce to 11. In addition, complaints about licensee activities reduced to 685 compared with 897 the previous year. The EPA has continued to improve on its risk-based, responsive regulatory approach and continues to engage with stakeholders and citizens in its role as a trusted regulator.
Laura Burke added,
“The EPA continues to improve upon and provide more timely evidence-based environmental assessments – a key role to help inform policy and decision making at national, regional and local levels. The evidence produced by the EPA is crucial in helping us to find solutions to address Ireland’s climate change challenges. The EPA does this by collating national greenhouse gas emissions and projections; regulating emissions from industrial sectors; supporting climate science research; supporting change in behaviour to promote a circular economy and facilitating the National Dialogue on Climate Action.”
Ms Burke concluded by saying:
“The EPA will continue to work with all stakeholders to place the environment at the heart of decision making, as these survey results clearly demonstrated that the environment is an asset that Irish people clearly value and should be protected and improved for all the people of Ireland.”
The EPA 2019 in Review report and the Rec C Survey are both available on the EPA website. You can follow the EPA on Twitter and Instagram through @EPAIreland where you can find up to date information on the Irish Environment.