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  • Nov '23
    Making sense of public opinion on clean air zones
  • Oct '23
    What explains the drop in Welsh support for 20mph speed limits, shortly after their introduction?
  • Aug '23
    Valent report: Evidence of online manipulation in the debate around ULEZ expansion
  • Jul '23
    More in Common research: voters outside of London were not paying close attention to the extension of ULEZ
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    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
    Media Insight 17th August 2023

    Valent report: Evidence of online manipulation in the debate around ULEZ expansion

    In an investigation by Valent, analysing 13,000 tweets and 8000 retweets from 8,583 Twitter accounts (now ‘X’) evidence was found of online manipulation of the debate around the expansion of London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) ahead of the Uxbridge by-election in July 2023. The investigation revealed hundreds of thousands of pounds were spent on undermining London’s key clean-air policy – suggesting a coordinated and ultimate successful (in terms of the result of the Uxbridge by-election) attempt to create a backlash against ULEZ.

    From the Climate Community 29th July 2023

    More in Common research: voters outside of London were not paying close attention to the extension of ULEZ

    A More in Common focus group for the Guardian newspaper, carried out just after the Uxbridge by-election, concluded that

    “The heated rows over green policy that have dominated Westminster over the past week, had passed voters we spoke to in Don Valley and Chipping Barnet by.”

    Although our Climate Barometer tracker data shows that there are some (Conservative) voters who are opposed to clean air zones, this perspective from far outside of the ‘bubble’ of Westminster commentary is useful to keep in mind: even opposition is unlikely to be strongly held or ‘top of mind’ for most voters.

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