Revealed: Britain’s most green-sceptic towns
Support for environmental policies is widespread but not universal
According to the latest wave of polling from UnHerd Britain, most of the country is now supportive of the “green” emphasis of the main political parties, but pockets of resistance remain in Yorkshire, the North East and Wales. When presented with the statement ‘The Government spends too much time on green issues’, 30% of the population agrees but a larger group, 42%, disagrees, believing that the emphasis is appropriate or even insufficient. A further 29% are not sure.
The polling, conducted by FocalData, analysed responses from 10,000 voters using MRP to produce estimates for all 632 constituencies in Great Britain (the Northern Irish constituencies are more difficult to poll in this manner, and have been excluded from the exercise).
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The voters least convinced by the green agenda are concentrated in specific parts of the country. The five constituencies which most strongly agree that green issues are given too much time are all industrial areas of Yorkshire. Barnsley is Britain’s most green-sceptic town, as the top two national constituencies which most strongly agree with the statement are Barnsley Central and Barnsley East. Further east in Yorkshire can be found the next: in third place Kingston upon Hull East, and in fourth Kingston Upon West and Hessle. In fifth is Rotherham, and Doncaster North and Doncaster Central also appear in the top ten.
Strikingly, almost all the most sceptical constituencies are represented by Labour MPs — and Doncaster North’s MP is none other than Ed Miliband, shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and a decades-long activist for Net Zero and green issues. Meanwhile, Hartlepool returned a Tory MP for the first time in 50 years in 2021.
The constituencies which most strongly disagree, and which are either happy with the amount of emphasis given to green issues or think they deserve more attention, tend to be the more affluent areas in the south. The ‘greenest’ constituency is Chesham and Amersham, located in Buckinghamshire in the south east of England, with 52% disagreement with the statement. Though the top three is rounded out by East Renfrewshire in Scotland and Rushcliffe in the East Midlands, Britain’s most pro-green areas tend to be found in the south of England: Tooting, Henley, Richmond Park, South West Surrey and Mole Valley all appear in this list of ten.
The divide between these opposing sets of constituencies comes into clearer focus when we consider other issues. All ten of the most green-sceptic constituencies in the UK voted convincingly for Brexit, while all ten of the constituencies most in disagreement with our statement voted to remain in the EU. Many of the former list are also among the places in Britain most worried about immigration. The Yorkshire constituencies listed are dramatically less affluent than constituencies like Henley and Richmond Park.
Contrary to the stereotype of young eco-warriors scolding their elders, these results also suggest that a belief in the need for greater environmental action slightly increases with age. Among the 18-24 age bracket, 35% agree that green issues are given too much emphasis, with the same figure for the 25-34 group. This falls to 28% of those aged between 35 and 44, 27% of the 45-54 group, 26% of the 55-64 group, and 27% of over-65s. Overall disagreement rises from 35% among the 18-24 bracket up to 44% among the oldest bracket.
The most striking difference is by party vote. Among those who voted for the Brexit Party in the 2019 general election, 57% agree with the statement — including 37% who strongly agree — compared to 21% who disagree. Plaid Cymru voters form the only other group that tends towards green-scepticism: 37% of Conservative voters agree, but 38% disagree. Meanwhile, Left-of-centre parties are all happy to see the current high emphasis on green issues — even from a Conservative government.
It should come as no surprise that Green Party voters are most in opposition to the statement: 63% disagree, including 40% in strong disagreement. There remains, somewhat paradoxically, one in five Green voters who think the Government spends too much time on environmental issues.
Both the main political parties in the UK are committed to Net Zero in an ambitious timetable. The emphasis on ‘green issues’ is shared across the mainstream. These results confirm that, so far, the population is supportive. But if protests in the rest of Europe are any guide, the pockets of resistance we are seeing in less affluent parts of the country could yet become more widespread.
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The vast majority supported lockdown. Now the bills are coming in.
The majority now supports “green”. Until the bills come in.
These surveys merely ask respondents to confirm that they are virtuous.
Given that “The vast majority supported lockdown” as you rightly say, one must ask two questions, can this country be saved? And is it really worth saving giving the epidemic of Vanity signalling that is going on?
I think the answer to both must be NO, (sadly), if only because as BR said “most people would rather die than think and MOST do”.
You’re too pessimistic Charles (even for a Monday morning). There will be an eventual reversion to the mean and sanity. Poli has it right – people haven’t fully connected up the dots between policies which massively and quite delivberately increased the price of energy (like Ed Miliband’s Climate Change Act) and their domestic heating bills. I struggle to understand just how it’s taking over 15 years to do so.
Of course, it’s no surprise that the common sense is coming from Yorkshire.
Perhaps, although I fail to understand how an ostensibly ‘Tory Government’ with an 80 seat majority has failed to repeal Milliband’s ‘Climate Change Act!
Who are they really pandering too? Certainly nobody in my particular little Arcadia! Which incidentally is not God’s own county, otherwise known as Yorkshire!
Alas, I cannot help you with that question ! It may be that politicians are still living in the Clinton/Blair era of triangulation where they believe there is always a “third way” somewhere in the middle that will satisfy everyone and that “tough choices” (a favourite Blair phrase used to mask not taking any) can be indefinitely avoided. Eventually things build up to a point where the real problems just get too big and the compromises and concessions have to stop.
I read an article the other day about bitcoin, ignore the bitcoin part I’m not a big fan of it tbh, but it was largely about fiat money and qe. The idea being that because governments can always print more money they never have to make the state live within its means, therefore they never really have to make tough decisions and so successive politicians buy off the electorate with more and more generous policies leading to a ballooning welfare state and bigger and bigger governments that we can’t really afford….. Was interesting different take on things anyway. Perhaps part of the problem?
I think it may have been Hayek who predicted that the welfare state would last no longer than a single lifetime because, when the state has such great spending power, the temptation for politicians to use it to buy the votes of both rich and poor leads to a situation where a majority are living off the state. We’re just about there, I think.
Thanks, I hadn’t heard of Hayek until very, very recently tbh so I’m afraid I don’t know that much about him but I will find out. I only know his name because I was reading about Mises, I have come across the mises institute recently and I quite like their website/ ideas. Zerohedge publish stuff from the mises wire, that’s how I came across it, I tend to think it’s pretty good.
Eee bah gum! Where there’s mook there’s brass! Never do owt for nowt less’n it be for tha’sen!!
I’m sure he’s right, but may I ask who you mean by BR? Bertrand Russell?
Sadly the majority of the population is still in favour of lockdowns. It is a sign how successful the governments scared the population into compliance. Also none of the media criticised any of the tough measurements, and even the more libertarian branches of the printed media uncritically followed the government. The same is happening with the green agenda. BBC closed down any scientific discussion about CO2 and Man Made Climate Change, no dissenting scientists are allowed to take part in discussions and all the political parties follow in step. The Guardian came up with “Climate Crisis”, which is now used in every News outlet throughout the Western World. “Climate Change” and “Climate Warming” was too tame and didn’t impress the masses. The latest term is Climate Catastrophe and soon it’ll be Climate Apocalypse. The mostly left wing media is following Climate Activists, no voice is offered to the sceptical scientists or realists like Bjorn Lomborg, because the interpretation of IPCC reports is only left to biased politicians and activists.
Would it be cynical and a tad unfair of me to believe that the most pro-green constituencies are also resident to those who would be outraged were the government or a private company to attempt to put up some wind turbines or fill a field with solar panels?
Looking at stats like these and trying to form ‘trends’ is lazy journalism.
The political classes have taken discussion away from ordinary people and are now in competition – who can be the greenest?
If a senior politician said something like…
“We want to ban carbon by the year 2050. This means that you will have to buy a car which will be more expensive but inferior; it means also that you will have to sit huddled in one room, desperately trying to stay warm; it means that £billions of taxes will have to be spent on green ventures, taxes which could have been used to improve your living conditions; all other services will, therefore, continue to get worse. But we will win, we will be the first to do this. Meanwhile, other richer countries will continue to look for oil and will try to get rich and provide a better life for their citizens – they are misguided or maybe evil. Trust us! Greta is on our side. All hail to Greta!”
Would you vote for that?
This is the scariest part of all – people actually support this green nonsense. Five minutes of research would reveal the absurdity of net zero,
It should be highly amusing that one of the most green-sceptic communities in the UK has the shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change as their MP.
Unfortunately, it simply demonstrates the gulf in our system of representation between the electorate and the elected. If the good citizens of Doncaster North perhaps see fit to vote according to their beliefs instead of their tribal loyalties at the next election, it’d bring to an end (at least temporarily) the useless political career of the other Miliband, so he could follow his brother into a sinecured position from whence he could annoy the rest of us from a greater distance.
I have never met, let alone know anyone who approves of, or wants ‘ net zero’! Most people believe that it as all an eco sandaloid con perpetrated by the same media who peddle the lbgt racism stuff that the great majority also dont give a stuff about?
‘Contrary to the stereotype of young eco-warriors scolding their elders…’
I think that’s quite funny. Especially since its the young this militant green business gets blamed on. And you old people net zero has been coming for years and years, we are nearly past the point of no return with it now, you needed to get upset about it like ten years ago to put a stop to it. The idea it’s probably a sham isn’t new. At all. What are us millennials supposed to do now….sanctioned fossil fuels and unreliable renewables, great. The future is…. Candle powered.
Unless we get these nuclear power stations built.
“probably a sham” lol
Lot of right-wing virtue signalling in these comments, all of you currying favour from your thought-bubble peanut gallery.
I’ve been visiting Iceland for 3 decades.
Even in my lifetime, the rate of shrinkage of my favourite glaciers is startling.
It’s measurable. How is that, and other such measurable and obvious phenomena, a “sham”?
As for nuclear, it of course depends on finding a part of the world that will be earthquake free and revolution free for the next 100,000 years – good luck with that. But in any event, it’s too expensive, and too inefficient:
You are way behind the times on nuclear and hydrogen Mr McCusker.
I cannot do every thing wrong with net zero with you right now. Agreeing that the climate is changing and accepting net zero is the right way to solve the problem are two separate matters.
Well said Ms Emery!
McCusker is an unreformed dreamer from the Kerrygold Republic,
Thanks Mr Stanhope, I feel like his contribution today was slightly more constructive than usual if nothing else…
In very recent (geological) time the glacier on top of my garden was 7000 feet thick. I’m sure the Icelanders will enjoy this bit of warming as us Scots have … until the glaciers return.
Nobody is denying Climate Change, which took place since the beginning of the planet and won’t end till the Earth spins into the Sun. In my summer walks in the Alps, I also observe the melting of the local glacier. But underneath you will find frozen wood, so that leaves the conclusion that there were once no glaziers. We are delusional to think, that we can switch the World’s temperatures up and down like on a thermostat. Scientific opinions (although the dissenting ones get mostly suppressed by the media) still differ, if the slight warming is due to our CO2 emissions or if there might be other reasons, why the planet goes through cyclical Climate Changes. Should we really decide to slowly deindustrialise Western World and go back to a medieval way of life? Unless we find THE new magic Energy source, our most reliable ones are fossil fuel and nuclear.
The Romans grew grapes in Yorkshire and until the end of the Mediaeval Warm Period, Britain’s climate was almost Mediterranean. Then came the Mini-Ice Age, with folk skating on the Thames at London by the mid-17th century.
Man-made climate change? Bullshot.
The polling question is way too vague. I can support a green agenda and oppose net zero, which really isn’t green at all.
I want to move to Yorkshire.
Seems Greta needs to do a tour of the north and do some educational correction.
Don’t think that Greta would last 5 minutes in the North of England. People would suss her out instantaneously.
How long in mid Wales?
The language would be a problem. But she would be welcomed if she paid for an interpreter. Mid-Wales is Plaid country. Plaid has two policies: 1) Everybody must speak Welsh, 2) Nothing must be changed.
You missed out burning all English-owned second homes.
“Come home to a real fire” buy a cottage in Wales.
Put up the insurance value, quick!!
Six weeks in say Rochdale may ‘sort her out’.
How dare you!?
All right, Clitheroe.
Six weeks in say Rochdale may ‘sort her out’.
You believe she should be sexually abused? What kind of person are you Charles Stanhope?
I very much doubt it, don’t they have ‘Specsavers’ up there?
why, do you robbie K?… and I always thought that the word started with C not K?
Councillor? Some of you folks need some help from one, that’s clear.
Yes, that’s be an eye-opener. For a few female MPs and journalists, too.
It is no surprise that the most green-sceptic areas are former mining towns which are now seeing the destruction of coal-fired power stations.
People in those towns are still grieving for the well-paid jobs that were lost with the coal industry; not just down the pits, but in power stations and on the railway. Thatcher started the destruction and the green lobby is finishing it off.
Largely right, but she did nothing of the sort. Three times as many pits closed under Harold Wilson as under Mrs T.
Tell me Caroline, what proportion of the coal mines that operated in France, Germany, the US and Poland in 1960 are still operational today? Did Mrs Thatcher ‘destroy’ them too?
Attlee (Labour) closed 101.
Macmillan closed 246.
Wilson closed 253.
Heath closed 26
(Lady)Thatcher closed 115.
The myth in Wales, that all problems were caused by Thatcher, is what is holding people back from trying to compete with the rest of the world. Wales has all the advantages if only people started to look at things with confidence rather than blame. Two potential tidal power stations in Swansea and Denbigh could generate 640 Megawatt.hours of electricity. This is a serious amount of power and enough to keep Wales going for ever, if properly managed.
Think positively instead of trying to blame somebody for all the negatives.
(To Ms Watson)
I think 640mW is a massive underestimation of what power Wales would need to keep going. Its a fair bit, but not massive if you are talking on a national scale. You need to talk in giga watts. And it certainly would not keep you forever, arguably demand always increases, especially in this country, we add to our grid all the time. Tidal has its place, you need to scale up enormously though from 640mW if you want to power Wales on that, I’m pretty confident in that.
That all depends on how stingy our future electricity rations are going to be ! 640mW certainly sounds at least an order of magnitude too low.
Lol yes indeed – might be able to rotate, let everyone have a few hours of power each day…
As above. You are just trivialising the situation because you believe in nuclear power. And this is why we can’t get things done. Everybody argues and argues for their own pet theory and ignores everything else.
No I’m a sparky and I know my mW from my gW.
Typical negativity. My figures were for two pilot schemes. Wales is in the right place for tidal power. It also has a small nuclear power station on Anglesey but who would want nuclear power? Perhaps England. Or maybe England could buy electricity from Wales?
Lmao. Our grid uses over 40gW at peak. You need alot more tidal. Like I say it has its place, but its not enough.
I don’t consider that Prime Ministers closed these coal mines any more than that they are personally responsible for the day to day operation of the NHS.
In both cases, there is (or was – for the National Coal Board) a large organisation tasked with managing the industry, more than fully staffed with managers responsible for managing and operating the industry.
Surely the NCB was responsible for balancing supply and demand and working out how many pits were needed. Almost all industries and products have life cycles with growth and decay and these forces are ultimately stronger than any government ideology.
These statistics also do not tell the whole story. Many of the older closed mines were small and larger “super pits” were opened during these periods (I seem to remember one in Selby). A lot of [taxpayers] money continued to be invested in the coal industry up until the 1980s. Under both Labour and Conservative governments.
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