Diverse and competing principles of equity are argued to be relevant to the burden-sharing problem for environmental improvement programmes. In this paper, a survey-based approach is used to reconcile this conflict, which is defined as sharing of the costs of an environmental programme among different individuals or groups. Respondents were asked to rank hypothetical individuals or groups on the basis of differences in relevant characteristic attributes. These attributes reflect the degree to which individuals are 'responsible' for the problem, 'benefit' from the policy change implemented, and are 'able to pay' for the programme. The econometric analysis of responses casts light on the magnitude of trade-offs between, for example, burden-sharing rules based on the polluter-pays principle and some of its alternatives. Our results indicate that these trade-offs do exist and, furthermore, are significant. Assessment of trade-offs in this way could be an important input into the design of mixed criteria rules for sharing burdens.