Poll Exclusive: Londoners on ULEZ, free school meals, crime, Green Belt and pay-per-mile

Poll Exclusive: Londoners on ULEZ, free school meals, crime, Green Belt and pay-per-mile

A new opinion poll has revealed Londoners’ views on a range of key issues in the unfolding contest to be elected the city’s Mayor on 2 May. Findings for On London by Redfield & Wilton include:

  • A large majority (70 per cent) support Sadiq Khan’s free school meals policy.
  • Increased general backing for the existence of the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (up by six per cent to 50 compared with September) and for its expansion to outer London (up two per cent to 41) with opposition on both measures slightly down.
  • However, asked if they would consider voting for a mayoral candidate whose “central platform” was opposition to the ULEZ, 57 per cent said they would “definitely” or “somewhat”.
  • Greater support for a “pay-per-mile” system to replace all other road-user charging schemes in London (38 per cent) than opposition to it (27 per cent).
  • Two-thirds of Londoners fear becoming a victim of crime more than they did five years ago (66 per cent).
  • Almost half of Londoners (48 per cent) support Green Belt restrictions being relaxed to enable more housebuilding (26 per cent oppose it)
  • Twice as many (45 per cent) support the planning system changing so that local objections to more housebuilding can be overridden as oppose the idea (22 per cent).
  • Almost half of Londoners (48 per cent) think public transport as a whole has got better since 2016 when Khan was first elected, with 20 per cent thinking it’s got worse.

The poll of 1,000 Londoners, conducted from 6-8 April, also found that a 55 per cent majority of Londoners consider Sadiq Khan to be a strong candidate for his party, Labour, compared with 35 per cent who think Susan Hall is a strong candidate for the Conservatives.

On devolution, there was majority agreement of 64 per cent that, as a matter of principle, the Mayor of London should be “given more power and control over how London is run” with 23 per cent “strongly” agreeing with the principle and only 13  per cent disagreeing.

An even larger majority, 74 per cent, agreed that London’s  Mayors and borough leaders “should have greater powers to help young people get the skills they need to find good jobs”.

In addition, Transport for London should be “put in charge of all commuter rail services in London” according to 48 per cent of the poll’s respondents compared with just 17 per cent who did not support the idea.

Mayor Khan’s rebranding of London Overground lines under six names – Lioness, Windrush, Suffragette, Liberty, Mildmay and Weaver – earlier this year was approved of by 45 per cent of those polled compared to 23 per cent who disapproved.

Other striking responses to the poll include:

  • A massive 83 per cent of Londoners thinking more should be done to get dangerous motorists off London’s streets and exactly 50 per cent thinking London’s speed limits are “about right”, although more (27 per cent) think they are currently too low than think they are too high (18 per cent).
  • A plurality – 45 per cent – saying they would support “the pedestrianisation of the entirety of central London”, compared to 24 per cent who said they were against it.

The poll is the first to ask Londoners for their opinion of Khan’s flagship free school meals policy, which ensures that every London child attending a state primary school receives one, regardless of their parent’s income – a point specifically including in Redfield & Wilton’s question about the issue.

Screenshot 2024 04 13 at 11.48.29

Answering a different question about the ULEZ, 27 per cent said they would be “most likely” to support a mayoral candidate who would keep the ULEZ at its new boundaries, while 24 per cent preferred one who would take it back to its former “inner London  boundary” and 21 per cent favoured one who would “scrap ULEZ entirely”. This spread of opinion is almost unchanged since September. The three options mirror the respective policy positions of Khan, Hall and Reform UK candidate Howard Cox.

Respondents were also asked if their opinions about the latest ULEZ expansion had changed since it came into effect at the end of August. The largest group, 36 per cent, said their view hadn’t changed, 28 per cent said they had become more supportive and 31 per cent said they were now more opposed.

The poll also revealed a small increase in the proportion of Londoners who consider the “main purpose” of the ULEZ is to reduce air pollution (up four points to 48 per cent compared with September) while the proportion who who think its main purpose is to “raise tax revenue”, a claim made by Hall, has fallen (to 34 per cent compared with 39 per cent).

There has been little change, however, in Londoners’ views about the ULEZ’s effectiveness in improving air quality: 43 per cent agreed that it has done so compared to 42 per cent in September and 41 per cent said it had made no difference, slightly down from 45 per cent.

The 38 per cent plurality who looked favourably on the idea of a pay-per-mile system of road user charging were asked the following question:

Screenshot 2024 04 12 at 14.38.33

The Hall campaign has been claiming that Khan has a secret plan to introduce pay-per-mile, something he has has repeatedly denied.

Asked if they had been victims of crime in the past year, 20 per cent of those polled said they had. Of those, 83 per cent said they had reported the offence to the police and 52 per cent of them said they were satisfied with the police’s response.

Londoners are evenly split over whether or not the Met is “fit for purpose”, with 43 per cent saying they think it is and 42 per cent saying it isn’t. The Crime Survey for England and Wales found that 16.1 per cent of people living in those countries said they’d been victims of crime in the year to March 2023.

Asked about specific public transport services, 49 per cent of Londoners thought the Underground had got better since 2016 (19 per cent thought worse), 51 per cent thought bus services had got better (20 per cent thought worse), 36 per cent thought the Docklands Light Railway had got better (nine per cent thought worse) and 41 per cent thought above ground rail service have improved (19 per cent thought worse). And 52 per cent regard the Elizabeth line to have been a success versus nine per cent who think it a failure.

Londoners’ views of the strength of mayoral candidates probably reflects to some extent how well known they are. The full findings for that section of the poll are below:

Screenshot 2024 04 10 at 15.51.03

Asked which Mayor they think has been the best since the role was created in 2000, 32 per cent said Khan and the same proportion said Boris Johnson, with 17 per cent choosing the first Mayor, Ken Livingstone.


Redfield & Wilton will be releasing a mayoral election voting intention figure in the coming days.

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Categories: Analysis

1 Comment

  1. Ann Rosenberg says:

    Statistically air pollution results in an increase in respiratory disease. The impact should be widely publicised. I’m a statistic as I’ve lived in central London all my life and I’ve now been diagnosed with COPD. I’m a non smoker. So a lifetime of exposure to air pollution has damaged my lungs and is life threatening.

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