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Environmental Campaigns

Volume 457: debated on Thursday 8 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of environmental campaigns funded by his Department; and if he will place in the Library copies of such assessments; (111267)

(2) what performance indicators his Department and its predecessors have used to assess the impact of publicly-funded environmental communications campaigns since 1997; if he will publish the performance of each such campaign as measured by such indicators; and if he will make a statement.

DEFRA was created in June 2001. Since then, DEFRA has funded various environmental campaigns through the core department, NDPBs and its key delivery partners.

DEFRA—Climate Change Communications Initiative

Climate Challenge Fund

DEFRA has not yet completed an assessment of the effectiveness of the Climate Challenge Fund projects which are part of the Climate Change Communications Initiative. We are funding 83 projects that commenced work in July 2006 and are due to run until February 2008. Plans are being made to assess the effectiveness of the projects and this will be made available in the summer of 2008. Each of the projects has been provided with a list of standardised statements to use when assessing their own project’s effectiveness and they will have the opportunity to attend a workshop to assist them on the evaluation of changing attitudes to climate change.

Film and brochure

The two-minute film “Tomorrow’s Climate, Today’s Challenge”, developed as part of the campaign and accompanied by the brochure “Your Guide to Communicating Climate Change”, has been downloaded approximately 40,000 times and distributed another 6,000 times. It has also been shown as a free ‘filler’ on 10 television channels and accrued £5.5 million-worth of airtime since December 2005.

Website

The website www.climatechallenge.gov.uk created as the central collateral resource for the Climate Change Communications Initiative has received an average of 120,000 page views per month.

DEFRA—Every Action Counts

The Every Action Counts campaign was launched in October 2006 and is a community engagement campaign that encourages voluntary sector organisations to make an active contribution to securing a more sustainable future. The initiative is designed to help local community groups, clubs and societies take action together to help protect the environment and improve quality of life.

Every Action Counts is part of a three-year campaign and there will be ongoing evaluation on a yearly basis throughout this time. As the campaign is currently in its first year, some early evaluation results are available and are listed as follows:

25 national third sector organisations are taking part in the initiative to develop their own sustainable development action plans.

320 community workers have already been trained in sustainable development so that they can engage with local groups on environmental action.

240 community groups/organisations have registered on the Every Action Counts website with the aim of taking part in environmental action on a local level.

From 19 October 2006 to 7 February 2007, the website has had just over one million hits.

Every Action Counts has a three-year independent evaluation study to look at the effectiveness of the initiative. The first report should be available in April 2007.

Environment Agency

The Environment Agency runs two main environmental campaigns: World Environment day and Flood Awareness. World Environment day are assessed by monitoring the number of pledges made and the growth in pledges year on year. The Environment Agency also conducts an environmental benefits assessment based on the assumption that people will carry out their pledges.

Market Research on Flood awareness has been carried out since 1997 to measure the general awareness of flood risk regarding the Agency’s role in managing flooding and the behaviours of those at risk in either preparing for or following flooding.

The Minister for Climate Change and the Environment meets with the Environment Agency regularly to review its overall performance.

Energy Saving Trust

Since 2004-05, EST has quantified the carbon impact of its consumer campaigns to promote energy saving. These have resulted in carbon savings, for each financial year, of the order of 125,000 tonnes of carbon p.a. These complement other channels of communicating with consumers, including EST’s advice network, hotline and website.

The main metric of campaign effectiveness is policy cost-effectiveness—Government expenditure per tonne of carbon saved (£/tC). Overall, EST’s activities targeting consumers are highly cost-effective, with a policy cost of around £5 per lifetime tonne of carbon saved. This is consistent with the analysis of the work of the Energy Saving Trust in the Climate Change Programme Review.

ENCAMS

Each year ENCAMS run different campaigns, agreed with the local environment quality team in DEFRA based on priority issues that come through from the Local Environmental Quality Survey of England. In 2006-07 the following campaigns were implemented:

Fast Food-Related Litter—Have some Pride Campaign (June 2006);

Nuisance Noise Campaign—July 2006

Fast Food-Related Litter—August 2006—Rats Campaign; and

Fast Food-Related Litter—December 2006—Night Time Economy

ENCAMS works closely with partnership authorities to measure the impact of its campaigns in their areas. With the help of ENCAMS, partner councils define specific hotspot sites, clean them, monitor build-up of the particular litter type and repeat this process over a measured period. Monitoring usually takes place two weeks before the campaign starts, two weeks during the campaign period and then a month following the end of the campaign. The detailed information collected enables ENCAMS to assess the success of its campaigns.

ENCAMS also undertakes market research to assess the impact of messages and its likelihood of influencing behaviour, and the Local Environmental Quality Survey of England assesses the overall national picture; and uses a corporate ‘scorecard’ to assess the success of its campaigns.

The Carbon Trust

The Carbon Trust reports to DEFRA on performance and activity to meet key company objectives each quarter. This reporting information includes identified and implemented carbon savings, number of registrations to the company website, and annual survey results of FTSE Board, FTSE non-Board, mid-sized companies and SMEs’ receptiveness to the Carbon Trust.

Envirowise

Envirowise offers business a range of free services, including: a telephone helpline and website; best practice guides and case studies; free on-site waste review visits; and workshops.

Independent assessments of Envirowise’s impact on UK business have been regularly undertaken since the programme’s formation. These assessments measure the level of savings, both financial and in terms of various waste streams, that have been achieved from the programme’s encouragement of waste minimisation and resource-efficient practices. Types of waste streams measured include water, effluent, raw materials and solid waste.

The programme has, since its inception in 1994, helped business make over £1.3 billion in cumulative savings while at the same time reducing business waste to landfill by 8.5 million tonnes.

Waste and Resources Action Programme

The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) conducts recycling communications campaigns at local and national level. Its national campaign is called “Recycle Now”.

WRAP’s Business Plan for 2004-06, which was developed in consultation with DEFRA, set targets for its national and local communications activities. These are given as follows, alongside the performance achieved for each.

Percentage

Activity

Target 2004-06

Performance 2004-06

National Recycle Now Campaign

Increase the number of committed recyclers (that is, those who regard recycling as important, those who recycle even if it requires additional effort, and who recycle a lot or everything that they can)

+10

+12

Local Authority-Run Campaigns

Increase the participation in recycling through the funding of local authority programmes:

New recycling schemes

10 to 50

74

Improved recycling schemes

10 to 50

From 45 to 65

Pure communication activities

10 to 50

From 59 to 64

WRAP’s local communications campaigns partially achieved their target. Not all of the funded local authorities achieved an increase in participation, but on average, the results were good.

In its 2006-08 Business Plan, WRAP has set a target of increasing the number of committed recyclers by a further 10 per cent. WRAP is currently on track to meet this target. Overall performance against the target will be published in WRAP’s 2007-08 Achievements Report, with WRAP’s 2006-07 Achievements Report providing an update on progress towards the target.

WRAP and DEFRA have together reviewed the value for money of the Recycle Now campaign. The campaign work undertaken to raise public awareness of recycling and bring about behavioural change will have impacts over the next few years in terms of messages being sustained by the public and creating better value for money in future recycling campaigns targeted at a more receptive public. The current levels of expenditure represent £0.51 between 2004-06 per household for the national Recycle Now campaign which is within the range of costs reported by other EU member states for similar campaigns.

The Recycle Now campaign marketing materials achieve high public recognition and have been taken up by the majority of English local authorities, as well as several major retailers on packs and in store.

An independent survey carried out by marketing groups has shown that the Recycle Now television adverts generate very strong public recognition and, therefore, compare favourably to successful commercial advertisements with significantly larger budgets.