Marlow Town Council has promised to create a “Sustainable Marlow Challenge” to encourage everyone in Marlow to go green. It made the pledge as it released a survey revealing that residents really care about the environment and want to adopt more sustainable behaviours.
The survey was carried out in late 2021 with support from polling firm Opinium. It found that residents considered environment and climate change the second most important local issue for Marlow. Only health was deemed more important, probably reflecting high concern over Covid at the time.
The Sustainable Marlow Challenge will build on the survey results by recommending sustainable behaviours that residents could try or build upon. The Council wants to develop the Challenge with the community, so it is initially inviting residents and community groups to join a working group to discuss what could go in it.
The survey reveals lots of ways in which Marlow residents want to do more for the environment.
Nearly 60% of survey respondents expressed interest in switching to an electric vehicle. Close behind this, 55% of respondents said they would like to fit solar panels on their home. Just under half of respondents said they would like to measure their personal carbon footprint. The same proportion said they would like to switch their home heating from natural gas to an electric heat pump.
Substantial numbers of residents are also interested in embracing other sustainable behaviours too. Over one-third of respondents said they would like to grow their own food, and one-third want to cycle more.
The survey also reveals what Marlow residents already do for the environment. The most common reported sustainable behaviour is waste recycling, which nearly 90% of respondents already do. Four in five respondents said they already walk more, and three-quarters said they have reduced use of plastic.
Over half said they have fitted energy-saving lighting and appliances in their homes, and about half said they are flying less and eating less meat and dairy – the types of food with the highest global warming impact.
The survey also reveals that Marlow residents’ top priority for council action on the environment is better management of waste. Illegal fly tipping emerged as residents’ top concern, followed closely by more action to improve waste recycling, and then to control litter better. Residents would like to see more school children walking or cycling to school. Reducing air pollution is another priority.
Actions to make Marlow a greener, leafier town also got a thumbs up from respondents, who want more of the wildflower verges that the Town Council has started planting around the town, more roadside trees, and improvements to Marlow’s parks.
Chair of the Town Council’s Environment Committee, Jocelyn Towns, welcomed the survey results and thanked residents who took part. “Our findings provide a fantastic basis for the Sustainable Marlow Challenge. I am excited to now move forward with our plans for community engagement on sustainability.”
The survey was carried out using professional polling techniques to make the responses as representative as possible of Marlow’s population. People were selected at random to take the survey and were not pre-warned of the survey topic. Opinium ‘weighted’ responses by age group, sex and area.
A detailed report on the survey results can be downloaded at: https://www.marlow-tc.gov.uk/environment