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Here we set out an overview of how people in Wales are thinking about climate change, climate leadership and climate policy – and where there are differences to the British population as a whole.

Summary: where are Welsh people on climate change?

Perceptions in Wales are very similar to those across the UK. People care about climate change and want to see leadership from the government to tackle climate change on a national level.

I think every household does recycle, but when we discover that everything we're recycling goes to landfill, it kind of then puts people off from being proactive when it comes to issues like this. Because you feel like your efforts come for nothing. And then, if millions of gallons of raw sewage is being pumped into our waterways, and it's okay, you feel like if the government doesn't take control of this, you feel very powerless. There's not much we can do as households to combat climate change. I could have a solar panel. My neighbour can choose not to have or may not [be able to] afford [one]. If the government doesn't actually provide schemes to enable everyone the opportunity to get one, then it's counterproductive because it's not a battle that we can win as individuals. It needs to be a collective and the collective needs to be managed and governed properly”

Civic Pragmatist, Cardiff

Wales breakdown of the seven British segments (Date: More in Common, January, 2024)

Climate engagement and concern in Wales

  • People in Wales know climate change is happening and the majority are concerned about it.
  • The last two years have brought huge challenges and worries around the cost of living. This has not lessened concern about climate change and nature. That concern is not going anywhere.

Welsh citizens are most concerned about climate change harming nature, causing bills and other costs to rise, and extreme weather events.

We asked participants: “Which of the following impacts of climate change are you most worried about over the next 10 years?” From a list of 15 options, respondents could select up to three. The top 5 most frequently cited climate impacts were:

  •  Harm nature and wildlife
  • Cause my bills and other costs to rise
  • Increase the risk of floods
  • Have a negative impact on my children/grandchildren’s future
  • Cause hardship for the world’s poorest

Along with Scotland, the Welsh public are slightly more worried about climate change causing hardship for the world’s poorest than people in England.

You think of Covid when the roads were sort of dead and the skies were dead, how much more wildlife and things there was and how better it was. I know that's not realistic but it was such a difference.”

Loyal National, Bridgend

The Welsh public feel motivated to take action on climate change.

Across the UK, people are twice as likely to feel motivated than unmotivated to act. Similarly in Wales, we see 41% of people saying they feel motivated to take action on climate change themselves, compared to just 16% who say that they are not concerned about taking climate action.

Motivation to take climate action, by nation and region.


To continue encouraging this motivation to take action, leaders need to show how policies will work practically in Wales.

I'd probably look to get an electric car. Long as, like I said, the infrastructure was put in place here… There's too many potholes. So if we're going to be investing all this money in new cars, especially electric cars, they need to sort the roads out first before people are going to invest in it.”

Loyal National, Bridgend

Lack of genuine consultation and engagement with locally affected communities is likely to cause resentment in Wales.

Welsh people are most likely (51%) to say they would ‘feel angry or disappointed if the government didn’t consult their community prior to developing plans for a new wind farm in their area’. People in Wales are the least likely to say they would ‘feel glad or relieved that the government was getting on with the plans for a wind farm’.

Feelings towards hypothetical plans for new wind farm, developed by government without consultation process, by country.

I believe we have no say and nobody's listening and they're just doing what they want to do.”

Civic Pragmatist, Cardiff

As with people in England and Scotland, people in Wales do not feel they have been informed about or consulted on policies to transition away from fossil fuels.

The percentage of those in Wales who feel they have been given clear information about policies (11%), informed in advance of new policies (10%), or consulted to give input on new policies (6%) by the UK national government is slightly lower than those in England (17%, 13%, 11%). In Wales, very few feel consulted or informed by their local authority either.

In focus group discussions, participants in Wales focused much more on what they felt was a lack of information and consultation by the UK national government than the Welsh government. There is a sense that they’re looking to the Welsh government for leadership on a national Wales-wide level.

I think the fact that most of us don't even know much about [heat pumps] shows that the government should first invest in educating people about the benefits and get us understanding how this will [impact] our lives and stuff like that.”

Civic Pragmatist, Cardiff

I think it's important that we have more of a say just because I think [MPs] are so far removed from the reality that a normal citizen is actually living in.“

Civic Pragmatist, Cardiff

I think it's quite different because obviously with this we are not run solely by the UK government. Like I said, we've got the Welsh government as well, so when we vote we are not looking back who we voted for as UK wide. It's like the local government and the Welsh assembly is what we look at more I think here in Wales as well as the bigger picture.”

Loyal National, Bridgend

I never feel like your vote will affect you locally because your MP might listen to your issues and then there's a whip, but then they have to ignore what you said anyway.”

Loyal National, Bridgend

Leaders and communicators in the UK need to be meaningfully involving the Welsh public in decisions on climate policies. People in Wales need to feel they are being kept informed and given a say in local decisions.

General view of wind turbines on a hillside above a town in the South Wales. Gilfach Goch, Wales, UK.
Photo credit: Haydn Denman / Alamy

Climate leadership in Wales

Welsh citizens expect governments to step up and lead on climate, and want to press ahead with efforts to reach Net Zero.

Like the UK public in general, a majority (60%) of those in Wales would be most likely to vote for a party pledging to speed up efforts to reach net zero, or one that is pledging to continue at a similar pace to the current government.

[If I were] Prime Minister, I would just build, because solar last year became the cheapest form of energy, it's cheaper than oil now. I would just build an absolute shed load of solar farms, reduce the cost of the energy for everyone, and then probably stop the subsidies that oil gets and redirect that money towards subsidies for electric cars.”

Loyal National, Bridgend

A majority in Wales think that reaching net zero will be mostly good or very good for Wales.

Overall, 57% of the Welsh public think that reaching net zero will be good for Wales. Progressive Activists and Civic Pragmatists (the two segments most concerned about climate change) are particularly positive about net zero for Wales, whereas the two Disengaged segments (the segments for whom climate change feels less urgent day-to-day) are more unsure of the effect reaching net zero will have on Wales.

Perceptions of effects of reaching net zero on Wales, by segment.

At the end of the day, industries come and go. People can diversify and find jobs elsewhere. We can tell from the adverse weather conditions that had we acted in the 70s, if we took it seriously, then some of the prevailing weather conditions, patterns would've been avoided. So at the end of the day we had to put a stop [to] the coal mines in Wales and we moved on. Did Wales die? No, we find a way of adapting and moving on.”

Civic Pragmatist, Cardiff

Communicators and leaders need to bring home the positive impact of the transition in Wales, especially for the two Disengaged segments.

On average, people in Wales rate the Welsh government’s climate change track record similarly to Westminster.

When we look across the segments, only Progressive Activists say that the Welsh government has done a better job than the Westminster government, whereas Backbone Conservatives are more likely to say that the Westminster government has done a better job.

Perceptions of Welsh government vs. Westminster government on their contributions to tackling climate change, by segment.

A majority trust the Welsh Government, the UK national government or local authorities on different aspects of the transition.

Governments are more trusted than not in relation to decision making across various policies to transition away from fossil fuels.

Trust in UK, Welsh or local government to make decisions in various areas related to the transition away from fossil fuels (Data: More in Common, January 2024)

Whilst the UK government is most trusted to make decisions on large infrastructural changes like electricity grid upgrades, the Welsh are most likely to trust their devolved national government when it comes to public transport policies, solar and wind farm projects, and new energy efficient housing projects.

Local authorities are least likely to be trusted most across these areas. The Welsh public are more likely to trust their local authority most on hyperlocal issues like cycling and walking routes.

Around a fifth don’t trust local, national or Welsh government across these areas of policy makin

Yeah, they moved that ban back on the petrol and diesel cars. I think they cancelled or reduced the heat pump subsidy and some other thing. They were going to phase out, they've pushed back as well. I can't remember what the last thing was.”

Loyal National, Bridgend

They kind of lose your confidence then if they're changing their minds and changing things.”

Loyal National, Bridgend

Leaders at all levels need to earn and build trust, and communicate effectively about their contribution to making the transition happen in Wales.

Founding directors Hywel Thomas & Gaving Gatehouse look at the intake point for Ynni Anafon Energy hydro project. One of the largest community owned hydro projects in the UK. The site of the Anafon Hydro lies in the Anafon valley in the Carneddau massif which rises immediately south of the village of Abergwyngregyn just inside the northern boundary of the Snowdonia National Park and 4 km west-south-west of Llanfairfechan. Gwynedd, North Wales.
Photo credit: Adam Murphy / Alamy

Climate policy in Wales

Use of public transport is less regular than active travel.

People in Wales are also less likely (13%) to use public transport every day or two than the UK average. People in Wales are the second most likely to never use public transport, after people in the East Midlands.

Frequency of public transport use by nation and region.

Wales has the highest percentage of people who own a petrol or diesel vehicle (82%, compared to 75% of the population for the rest of the UK), and the lowest proportion of people who do not own a car at all (14%, compared to 20% average for all of the UK). This is mostly due to the fact that Wales has a higher than average percentage of the population living in rural areas which are not well served by public transport infrastructure.

I mean for myself I walk where I can… we're not far from Cardiff. I try and get a train back and forth to Cardiff, but at the moment it is so unreliable. It's just chaos. I know there's strikes at the moment, but even before that… not very reliable.”

Loyal National, Bridgend

Yeah, I think just the cost of the public transport as well. I got the bus the other day and it was like £4.40, it was nearly £5 just to buy a bus ticket. So I think the cost of public transport needs to come down as well.”

Civic Pragmatist, Cardiff

Most people don’t associate public transport with positive things. In Wales, reliance on cars is particularly high. For cars to be less necessary and for public transport to be a more valid option for more people, more of the time, it’ll need to be more accessible, reliable and appealing.

Welsh people are supportive of many climate action policies and initiatives by the Welsh government, but enthusiasm varies across the segments.

Net perceived approval of various policies or initiatives from the Welsh government, by segment.


People in Wales strongly or moderately approve of most of the Welsh government policies presented in this question. Increasing locally-owned renewable energy capacity gets the highest rate of approval (net 54%).

The 20mph speed limit initiative is the only measure which received strong net disapproval on average – and for all segments apart from Progressive Activists.

I'll definitely tell you that now we're driving at 20 miles an hour within residential areas, that actually emits more fumes into the atmosphere than anything. But it caught the headlines and we went with it.”

Civic Pragmatist, Cardiff

I understand.. why they're doing it [20mph speed limit] and I do think it's a good idea in terms of when there's schools and things like that, but then other main roads I think should be 30, but that's down to each particular local authority then to make that decision to reduce accidents.”

Loyal National, Bridgend

No, no. Obviously I don't agree with having the 20 [mph] everywhere, but we've got to abide by the rules.”

Loyal National, Bridgend

Leaders in Wales need to show how investments will work practically, and address people’s concerns about transport policy changes.

Visit our general recommendations for leaders and communicators and read our Seven segments 2024 overview to find out more.

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