What A Water Waste.

3.5 Million rogue Brits flout hosepipe ban for cars and gardens One in two refuse to report neighbours caught breaking the ban.

Despite Britain's first drought orders in a decade being introduced this summer, almost 3.5 million* people in the hosepipe ban zone have deliberately broken the emergency ban to keep their cars clean and their gardens green. This amounts to at least 12 billion litres of water down the drain since April!

A poll* of over 1,000 people by eBay Motors in July, the UK's hottest month since 1904, reveals that almost a third (29%) of those living in the drought-hit South East confess to breaking the hosepipe ban to carry out restricted activity such as using pressure washers to clean their car, water the garden and refill their swimming pools. A sneaky 23% even admit breaking the ban in the middle of the night in order to avoid being caught.

The top five hosepipe ban flouts are:

1. Watering the flower beds (35%)

2. Refilling the paddling/swimming pool (27%)

3. Washing the car (26%)

4. Watering the vegetable patch (21%)

5. Watering the lawn (17%)

Drought busting in 2020…

With Met Office forecasters warning of hotter, drier spells to follow in the years ahead, ebaymotors.co.uk commissioned MIRA, the UK's leading motoring designers, to design a drought buster solution for one of the biggest ban offenders - residential car washing. The inflatable car wash unit uses just four litres of recyclable water compared to 135 litres used when washing a car by hosepipe*. Experts believe the 'Car Wash 2020' solution could feature in driveways across the UK's neighbourhoods in the future, causing a major public rethink on water saving. The design is inspired by a 'dishwasher effect' using a mixture of steam and water mist. Images of this future thinking concept are available.

Key research findings:

eBay Motor's 'Water Waste' research reveals astonishing new evidence of illicit public behaviour, rife confusion and widespread lack of concern towards the drought restrictions:

  • 21% of those living in the drought-hit South East have no idea that they live in a hosepipe ban region, despite the ban being in place since April
  • Of those who knew the ban was in force, a staggering one in five (20%) had no idea what is allowed or not within the terms of the ban
  • Despite risking a £1,000 fine 39% say they don't care who catches them and would break the ban at any time!
  • 21% of Brits would be happy to fork out up to an extra £120 a year to remove the hosepipe ban.
  • The Charlie Dimmock effect - 11% have broken the ban in order to fill a water feature or pond
  • Nearly a fifth (17%) of people living in a hosepipe ban area have made no changes to their car washing behaviour since the drought order came into place with 35% still washing their car once a month or more.

Nation turns a blind eye to ban breakers Despite anonymous tip-off services being set up by some water companies, a staggering 54% would turn a blind eye and refuse to report those they caught breaking the hosepipe ban. 22% of people living in restricted regions have witnessed a friend, family member or neighbour break the hosepipe ban.

However, almost a third of vigilant good citizens (32%) would confront the offender straight away and ask them to stop immediately. 19% would snitch offenders directly to the water board or their local authority.

Commenting on the findings, Victoria Biggs of eBay says: "Despite water saving measures being imposed in the face of severe drought, millions of motorists are still regularly breaking the ban to wash their cars. Our survey found that two thirds of people are put off buying a car if it is dirty so, while it's clearly important for motorists to present a clean and well-maintained car when selling on, we urge people to consider more drought busting solutions when washing their car. Instead of a hosepipe, perhaps they could reach for the bucket and sponge. Hopefully, MIRA's futuristic residential car wash design will give motorists some fuel for thought."

11 August 2006 Staff

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