The paper considers the significance of four environmental factors, and attitude to nuclear energy. These are distance from a nuclear site, spatial awareness, visual and environmental impact. A major survey of 1354 members of the public in South West England in 1982 revealed that the distribution of opinion within a 20 mile radius of an established site, a proposed site and a control site were different. Opinion groups also differed in their estimations of the visual impact of a station, potential effects of routine and accidental releases of radiation and the anticipated environmental effects of building a new station.