Landscape desecrated by climate change.

How will the climate and nature crises impact people living in poverty?

Part of the Everyone’s Environment programme

People living in poverty in the UK are more affected by climate change and nature loss than people who are not. Why? Because people in poverty live in areas with more exposure to environmental impacts and cannot afford protections to mitigate the effects of environmental crises on their lives.

The impacts are disproportionate. They are also unfair, because people in poverty have contributed far less to the causes of the climate and nature crises.

This briefing is for charities and funders working with people in poverty or on low incomes in the UK. It lists the impacts on people living in poverty of environmental change and environmental policy, including:

  • Being unable to afford adaptations to their housing in reaction to a changing climate, such as installing insulation or preventing mould.
  • Being unable to afford to stay cool in heatwaves e.g. electricity costs (fans or lights if the blinds are closed to keep the sun out) and travel costs to get to public green spaces.
  • Being more likely to experience floods: low-income households are eight times more likely to live on a floodplain. And the average cost of being flooded is an estimated £50,000 per home.

The Everyone’s Environment programme

This briefing is part of the Everyone’s Environment programme, a collaboration of over 70 social and environmental charities and funders to empower people from different social groups to have their needs reflected in environmental decision making and policy.

We have also published similar briefings for other social groups, the findings of our deliberation groups, and our policy recommendations for government based on those briefings and deliberations. Explore all these publications.

We are grateful to The Robertson Trust for their support of the people living in poverty strand of Everyone’s Environment.

The Robertson Trust logo.


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