The Government’s pounds 7 million drive to urge the public to
combat climate change was branded a failure this week by an influential
group of MPs.
They urged ministers to boost the budget and to run a high-profile
campaign showing how simple actions such as switching off lights when
they leave a room could cut carbon emissions.
The Labour-dominated Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Select
Committee warned that campaigns such as Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO’s ’Are
you doing your bit?’ last year would fail. ’In many cases, their
profiles are low and their messages ineffective, largely as a result of
inadequate funding,’ its report said. ’A sophisticated, targeted
approach is required to change people’s behaviour along with a much
greater commitment from the Government to doing its bit.’
The MPs said that the ad campaign had been undermined by press reports
revealing the environmentally damaging behaviour of government
departments and ministers. Opinion polls found that environmental public
awareness was very low.
Jill Johnstone, the National Consumer Council’s head of policy, said:
’Consumers are getting too many conflicting messages from too many
They can’t pick up what the big issues are. Much of our research has
found that people are concerned about air pollution and toxic waste but
they find it difficult to deal with climate change.’
Andrew Bennett, the committee’s Labour chairman, admitted that none of
its members had heard about the campaign until it was mentioned by a
witness to its inquiry into the UK’s climate change programme.