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Clean Air Zones

Is there a split between ‘motorists’ and ‘non motorists’ on transport policies?

15 September 2023

YouGov polling from Sept 2023 shows drivers and non-drivers split on who ‘gets the best deal’ from travel policies

Among those who drive on at least five days in a week, 41% say that government policy tends to favour non-drivers, compared to just 18% who say it favours drivers. Britons who don’t drive say that policy favours drivers over non-drivers by 35% to 13%.

In both cases, there’s a sense that other people are getting a better deal – but what surveys like this (and the rhetoric from the current Government around the idea of a ‘war on motorists’) obscure, is that many people drive, cycle/wheel and walk on streets and roads.

The idea that there are ‘motorists’ and a group defined in opposition to cars, doesn’t tally well with the reality of how people experience their neighbourhoods. And other polls looking for differences between drivers and non-drivers, don’t always find any: In 2021 YouGov found support for clean air zones, and increasing the amounts levied in congestion zones, was almost identical between people who drive, and those who don’t.


The latest from the Clean Air Zones timeline:

Climate Barometer Tracker 15th November 2023

Tracker data: Public support for low traffic neighbourhoods is higher than MPs’

The latest Barometer tracker data (October 2023) shows public support for low traffic neighbourhoods is higher than opposition, although the difference is only 10 percentage points, and the pattern is reversed for Conservative voters.

Public support (39%) is higher than that of MPs at only 23%, and support is particularly low among Conservative MPs, likely reflecting the widespread belief that the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) was the reason for the unexpected Conservative ‘hold’ at the Uxbridge by-election in July 2023.

As with differences between public and MP opinion seen on onshore wind, and to a lesser extent solar power, it is important that where public support exists (as it does on onshore wind, solar and clean air zones), this support is seen, acknowledged and acted on by political representatives.

View Clean Air Zones timeline now

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