Nearly two thirds of people living in Cork City strongly agree that Cork must transform into a more sustainability friendly place to live and work, according to a new survey of residents on behalf of Cork City Council’s Climate Action Unit.
The research, completed by Behaviour and Attitudes, was undertaken to inform the draft Cork City Climate Action Plan which will go out to public consultation in the coming weeks. It will also support Cork’s designation by the European Commission as one of 100 European cities, leading the transition to become a climate neutral city.
The representative sample, which was gathered during 500 face-to-face interviews in people’s homes in April and May 2023, found that Cork people have a good understanding of the most effective actions they can take to reduce their carbon emissions. Nearly one third of homeowners are planning a home retrofit or energy-system upgrade in the next 12 months.
The survey asked people about the paths to a cleaner, healthier city that can help to address the climate changes we’re already witnessing. Of those polled, 80% believed that we are already seeing climate change in the city.
60% of Cork people fully recognize that traffic congestion will decrease if there is continued investment in a more regular and reliable bus service. 63% fully acknowledge that investment in cycling and walking infrastructure will enable healthier and more active lifestyles. Switching the country’s energy system to renewables, such as solar and wind, was also recognized as key to increasing employment and economic opportunity.
The survey found that recent government investment in public transport, facilities for walking and cycling and reductions in public transport fares are all recognised by the public as positive measures to change our transport habits. Over 60% of weekly public transport users declared that services have improved in the past 12 months. The cost of fares, frequency of service, reliability and speed of travel were all roundly acknowledged as better. Using public transport, walking or cycling more, rather than hopping in the car, are among the effective ways we can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help to reduce the risks caused by climate change.
The survey reveals that:
- 64% of Cork people strongly agree that Cork must transform into a more sustainable place to live and work that is climate neutral and resilient.
- 86% of Cork people want more pedestrianized streets.
- 92% want more parks, biodiversity and green spaces in the city.
- 88% want more locally produced foods.
- 89% want more trees on city streets.
Lord Mayor, Cllr. Kieran McCarthy said, “I am heartened by how many people in Cork City are taking the climate crisis seriously. As a Council, we are keen to support the public, our businesses, and the community to that action. I note that an important outcome from the survey was the need to speak in plain language, when talking about climate issues. We need scientists to inform us, but their information must be delivered in language that we can all understand.”
Cork City Council Chief Executive Ann Doherty said, “under the National Planning Framework, Cork is primed to be the fastest growing city in the country over the next 20 years. Climate action must be at the heart of this growth. The City Development Plan, our blueprint for the next 5 years, commits us to growing as a sustainable, compact liveable city. By creating a city where people have economic opportunities, live near the health and education services they require, have access to green space and amenities, to regular and reliable public transport and good walking and cycling facilities, we can live healthier lives and generate less emissions.”
Source: Cork City Council