12.08.08 16:30 Age: 10 yrs

Alarm over city's lost heritage sites grows

By: NZ Herald

Aucklanders are increasingly concerned about the loss of heritage sites in the region, an annual Auckland Regional Council survey reveals.

The environmental awareness survey sampled the views of 1600 residents about aspects of the natural and built environment, as well as their perceptions of living in the region.

Alison Reid, social research co-ordinator, said that since the last year's survey, there had been a significant increase in the proportion of respondents concerned about the loss of heritage sites, up from 65 per cent to 72 per cent.

She said those surveyed had been asked on a scale of one to five if they were concerned about the destruction of important heritage sites such as historic buildings and archaeological sites.

Seventy-two percent of the respondents were concerned or very concerned, an increase on previous years.

Ms Reid said it was interesting because in other areas of environmental concern there had been no discernible changes.

The survey found that more than two-thirds of Aucklanders were concerned or very concerned about the environment in the region.

Asked to name the most important environmental problem, traffic congestion and its effects topped the list, followed by air pollution.

Asked to rate their level of concern specifically about air pollution from traffic, 82 per cent said they were concerned or very concerned.

Ms Reid said 87 per cent of the respondents said they were concerned or very concerned about water pollution in the region's beaches, harbours and streams.

More than 70 per cent were concerned about environmental destruction including the loss of native animals and plants, the loss of streams, wetlands, bush and forest.

Ms Reid said about half the respondents felt that they knew more about historical heritage, the environment and biodiversity than they did three years ago.

"Increased awareness may be a factor in this increase in concern."

According to the survey, 73 per cent of Aucklanders felt the region was a great or good place to live.

People cited the natural environment and the entertainment and employment opportunities as reasons they like living in the region.

Less than half (42 per cent) agreed that the council gave the public enough say in decisions affecting them.

This article originally appeared in the NZ Herald

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