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Clean Air Zones

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

15 November 2023

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.

The latest from the Clean Air Zones timeline:

Opinion Insight 23rd October 2023

What explains the drop in Welsh support for 20mph speed limits, shortly after their introduction?

Polling for WalesOnline by Redfield & Wilton shows a sharp rise in the proportion of people opposed to the new ‘default’ 20mph speed limits introduced on certain roads in Wales (where ‘cars mix with pedestrians’).

Although introduced primarily for road-safety reasons, lower speed limits are one way in which air pollution from road traffic can be reduced, and 20mph limits are typically a feature of cleaner-air campaigns.

Support in Wales has dropped across the board, but especially among Conservative voters following intense opposition by the Conservative Party (including organising a petition against the new law)

This pattern is in contrast to the typical ‘Goodwin curve‘ of initial (pre-implementation) opposition softening into majority support once the new rules are in place.

The strength of opposition from Conservative politicians in Cardiff suggests – as with the opposition to clean air zones seen among Conservative MPs in Westminster – that the opposition is partly about creating a political dividing line.

But with a significant percentage of the Welsh public currently in opposition to the scheme, winning over the ‘Persuadables’ is more important than ever – something which ACT Climate Labs has issued recent guidance on around transport policies.

Whilst the change may not currently be popular, driver behaviour showed immediate signs of positive change, with average speeds dropping in the first week of the policy’s implementation.

  • Source: Redfield and Wilton
  • Author: Redfield & Wilton Strategies
  • Date: 18th October 2023
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