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Environment

Germans want fewer cars in built-up areas, more public transport

The results of Germany's biennial environment survey have been released. It found that the vast majority of Germans want town planners to shift their focus from private car transport to more eco-friendly options.

Close to 82 percent of Germans who partook in the Federal Environment Agency's biennial survey indicated they wanted town planners to focus less on private car transport and more on pedestrians, cyclists, car pooling and other means of public transportation.

Regarding the figures released on Monday, Germany's Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said, "We need a new concept of mobility in towns," adding that reducing noise and fine-particle pollution should be a priority.

"A carpool law, promoting the use of shared community cars, will soon be presented to federal parliament by transport minister Alexander Dobrindt," Hendricks added.

While things are looking up in terms of transportation, the environment has slipped down the list of priorities for many Germans, with only 19 percent of people surveyed saying it is one of the most important challenges for their country.

Since 1996, the German government has published an environmental awareness survey every two years.

In 2012, 35 percent of Germans rated environmental concerns as a pressing problem. The survey was conducted soon after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.

Monday's figure of 19 percent is the lowest it has been since 2004, Hendricks said, while pointing out that this was because progress made on environmental issues meant that people were now more at ease than before.

The survey also found that 37 percent of Germans were worried about social security, and that 29 percent of people were concerned about economic and financial policies. Pensions worried 24 percent of people, and 20 percent saw crime, peace and security as an issue.

Some 2,117 people over the age of 14 were surveyed online in July and August 2014 for the biennial survey.

jlw/sb (dpa, epd)

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