British people hail cleaner air and community spirit under lockdown

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Less than 10% of British people want to go back to normal after lockdown, with most seeing upsides from breathing cleaner air to greater sense of community spirit, according to a survey released on Friday.

More than half those questioned said air quality had improved as road traffic levels fell, while over one in four had seen more wildlife under lockdown measures to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.

Four in ten people feeling a stronger sense of local community, said the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), which commissioned the poll with The Food Foundation, a charity.

“We must use this time to imagine a better future,” said Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the RSA.

“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.”

As food systems feel the strain of a sudden surge in demand, the online survey of more than 4,000 adults by polling firm YouGov found that about 40% of people now value their food more.

More than three quarters hoped Britain would learn from the crisis as a country, though the poll did not elicit further details about what changes they wanted to see, while over half said they hoped to makes changes to their own life.

Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit