A survey of 3,000 UK adults found that nearly two-thirds support the UK’s rapid expansion of hydrogen, electric vehicles (EVs), clean energy, carbon capture and the natural sector.
The multi-billion-pound plan outlined short-term support for various low-carbon sectors.
The survey was conducted in December 2020 at the Institute for Politics of Environment and Climate Change (PECC) at the University of London’s Royal Holloway and the results are published today (23 February).
In the survey, participants from the Conservative and Labor voter pools asked for comments on Boris Johnson’s Top Ten Plans, which were announced last November as part of the UK’s economic recovery plan for Covid-19 and as part of its industrial strategy support. The plan has allocated a total of £12 billion across sectors such as offshore wind, nuclear and hydrogen.
This survey showed widespread support for the plan as a whole among Conservative and Labor party voters. Of the 3,000 people surveyed, 64% supported the plan, and only 15% said they actively oppose it. Meanwhile, 41% of people said they would be against the government’s approach if they hadn’t developed new policy support in the low-carbon sector backed by the plan last year.
Some of the plans have proven to be more popular than others. Survey respondents generally showed the strongest support for planting trees, expanding offshore wind capacity, electric public transportation, and subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles by businesses and individuals. Respondents were least concerned with policies in the maritime and aviation sectors.
“Ultimately, given the individual’s political orientation, the overall picture is not very different.
“The most popular policy program among the general public has the support of most conservative and labor advocates. Thus, the particularly ambitious version of the Green Industrial Revolution is receiving a high level of support across political party lines within the UK.”
Communicating in Covid-19
In the last general election in December 2019, climate was a major issue. While all major parties have come out to support the net zero transition, plans for the rate of transition and delivery have varied.
The Conservative Party has repeatedly used green policy announcements as a means to support and engage existing voters during and after the election. The election declaration detailed its commitment to stop exporting plastic waste to poor countries and expand the UK’s recycling, electric vehicles and sustainable agriculture sectors after Brexit.
But, of course, Covid-19 struggled to communicate and implement these and related strategies.
When Johnson first touted the UK’s’New Deal’ recovery package in June 2020, many green groups said nothing was “new” about it and encouraged more support for the low-carbon sector.
Then, when the 10-point plan was unveiled on Twitter, many conservative voters said they did not support the framework and that Johnson should prioritize the immediate crisis over the UK’s long-term climate goals.
A new survey suggests that these Twitter users are either part of a vocal minority or that the public mood has changed since November.
Similarly, a study by Climate Outreach last year found that there is widespread support for low-carbon transitions in all social demographics in the UK. Instead, the’Britain Talks Climate’ study caused disagreements on how the transition should be communicated. Climate Outreach conducted a survey of 10,000 British adults before hosting 12 focus groups and 35 in-depth interviews.
Hear the story of BEIS’ industry head and carbon capture in our next masterclass.
Head of Industry and Carbon Capture and Storage at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has been identified as a speaker at edie’s next online masterclass, which will take place on March 10th.
The 45-minute master class is free to watch and explores the role energy efficiency will play on the road to the net-zero of industrial business. It is held in collaboration with Carbon Trust and BEIS and includes expert lectures from BAM Nuttall. Learn more and register here.
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