The researchers are interested in the perceptions of environmental factors sometimes regarded as risks to Cornish homes. Image courtesy

Cornish residents sought for study into environmental risks

Scientists at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus are seeking members of the public to help conduct research into how certain plants, animals and other environmental factors in and around homes are perceived by Cornish residents.

The researchers are interested in whether perceptions of a wide range of environmental occurrences such as ivy, flooding, dry rot and subsidence differ between different sectors of society.

Whilst many of these factors are harmless, others can have serious ecological, economic and social impacts.

Beth Robinson, who is leading the research, said: “Whilst some people will value the sound of seagulls, others get frustrated with the noise. We are interested in the perceptions of issues that are widely regarded as a risk, but also issues that are hardly a risk at all, but just perceived by a minority to be so. Differences in perceptions may have implications for how problems are managed in our communities.”

To explore this in Cornwall, a short ten-minute survey has been designed. Responses to the survey are being sought from a broad cross-section of society and no previous knowledge or interest in environmental issues is required.

The information gathered will be helpful to the county but will also have wider relevance, with the results made available through a scientific report.

All responses are anonymous and participants who complete a survey have the chance to win a £30 book token.

To take part visit the website:

The research is being led by Beth Robinson, a PhD student studying perceptions of environmental-related issues in Cornwall. Beth is based at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) at the Penryn Campus under the supervision of Professor Kevin Gaston, Dr Kirsten Abernethy and .

Beth can be contacted on

The ESI is working with businesses and enterprises across all sectors of the economy in Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and beyond to translate research and expertise into innovative business practices, products and services in order to respond to the challenges of environmental change. It has been funded by the European Regional Development Fund Convergence Programme (£22.9M) and the South West Regional Development Agency (£6.6M), with significant support from the Higher Education Funding Council for England.

Date: 22 August 2014

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