Environmental Social

Coronavirus: Only 9% of Britons want life to return to ‘normal’ once lockdown is over

By Lucia Binding/Friday 17 April 2020

People have noticed significant changes during the lockdown, including cleaner air, more wildlife and stronger communities.

Only 9% of Britons want life to return to “normal” after the coronavirus outbreak is over, a survey suggests.

And 42% of participants said they value food and other essentials more since the pandemic, with 38% cooking from scratch more.

The survey found that 61% of people are spending less money and 51% noticed cleaner air outdoors, while 27% think there is more wildlife.

Two-fifths said there is a stronger sense of community in their area since the outbreak began and 39% say they are catching up with friends and family more.

The survey was commissioned by the Royal Society of Arts, alongside The Food Foundation, as part of its work to draw up an action plan for more sustainable food and farming, land use and the rural economy.

Professor Tom MacMillan from the Royal Agricultural University, and research lead for the RSA’s commission, said: “This data shows there is a real appetite for change, and for the nation to learn from this crisis.

“People are trying new things and noticing differences, at home, in their work and in communities.”

Mr MacMillan said this was especially apparent when it comes to food, farming and the countryside.

He added: “Alongside the emergency response, it is important to keep track of these changes in what we’re doing and our collective mood, to help shape the kind of country we want to be, including the way we want to feed ourselves, when we recover from this pandemic.”

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA, said that while it was right the immediate emergency was the priority, “we must use this time to imagine a better future”.

He said: “This poll shows that the British people are increasingly aware that the health of people and planet are inseparable and it’s time for radical environmental, social, political and economic change.”