Rural climate attitudes

This project is investigating how climate policy-making and implementation can be made more inclusive of the opinions and concerns of rural English residents with right-of-centre and national-populist political identities.

Rurality is an important but somewhat overlooked aspect of climate policy making. ‘Industrial scale’ national solutions need the countryside for their successful execution (such as wind farms, solar farms, forestry plantations for carbon capture), but at the same time, the wider environmental challenges for rural areas do not necessarily attract the same level of policy focus or funding (e.g. how to solve the transport issue, older, less efficient homes, and knock on effects such as purchase of land for carbon capture then competing with local growers). This imbalance can be viewed as a form of ‘rural exploitation’.

Add to this a strong relationship between rurality and conservative/right-of-centre voting in England.(which is not a phenomenon we see in Scotland or Wales), and the ‘semi-mystical’ links that exist between rural areas and the national imaginary (as the location of ‘real England’), an interesting constellation of ideological effects comes into play that affect how climate policy can and should be made.

The project will use a mixed-methods approach to try to understand what elements of right-of-centre and national-populist views might combine with rurality to create resistance to some types of climate policy, and to understand what type of climate policy framework would be welcomed by English rural residents who hold these political views.

For more information please contact Rachel Coxcoon on

Photo credit: Shared Futures