The changing prioritization of environmental protection in Britain: 1982-2019

Kenny, John (2022) The changing prioritization of environmental protection in Britain: 1982-2019. Government and Opposition. ISSN 0017-257X

[thumbnail of the-changing-prioritization-of-environmental-protection-in-britain-19822019]
PDF (the-changing-prioritization-of-environmental-protection-in-britain-19822019) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (415kB) | Preview


This paper examines the evolution of long-term trends in the prioritisation of environmental protection in Britain over a period of four decades. It does so by compiling comparable questions tapping into the same underlying environmental dimension from a range of sources, including historical polling data that has only recently been made available to the research community. At the aggregate-level, prioritisation largely tracks changing economic conditions as well key environmental events, with the winter of 2019 showing the highest recorded levels. Furthermore, trends in individuals’ willingness to prioritise the environment may not always go in tandem with trends in environmental salience. At the individual-level, educational attainment is the only consistently significant demographic correlate over time. However, there is evidence of increasing politicisation of the environment, with left-right orientations only becoming an important correlate of environmental prioritisation in recent years in line with rising divergence on the issue at the elite level.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Acknowledgements: The author would like to thank Ben Clements, Peter Enns, Will Jennings, Joan Madia, Andra Roescu, Riley Taiji, Giacomo Vagni and the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments on previous drafts that greatly improved the article. An earlier version of the article was presented at the 2020 Environmental Social Sciences workshop at the University of Bern, and the author is grateful for feedback received at this. This work was supported by the Economic and Social Research Council (grant number ESRC ES/S000380/1).
Uncontrolled Keywords: environment,public opinion,attitudes,britain,politicisation,values
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2022 10:30
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2022 12:32
DOI: 10.1017/gov.2022.17

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item