ComRes have a new poll out in the Telegraph. Topline voting intention figures with changes from last month are CON 25%(+2), LAB 28%(+1), LDEM 16%(-1), BREX 19%(-3).

The Telegraph headline their report on hypothetical questions asking how people would vote if Boris Johnson was Tory leader, I’m rather sceptical of the worth of such questions when it’s a hypothetical that actually appears to almost certainly happen in a week or two’s time, but there goes. For what it’s worth, in the hypothetical Boris question the voting intentions are CON 32%(-5), LAB 25%(+3), LDEM 17%(-3), BREX 14%(nc) – a substantial drop in Conservative support from the same hypothetical question a month ago, suggesting perhaps it wasn’t such an effective prediction of Boris’s future impact.

Anyway, my general assumption is that parties normally do get something of a boost from new leaders, if only from the news coverage, enthusiasm of their supporters and whatever the new leader has planned to make an early impact. We shall see for real in the coming weeks.

As ever, other polls are also available – there have been two other voting intention polls this month:

Opinium in the Observer at the weekend had topline figures of CON 23%, LAB 25%, LDEM 15%, BREX 22%, GRN 8% (tabs here)
YouGov in the Times last week had topline figures of CON 24%, LAB 18%, LDEM 20%, BREX 23%, GRN 9% (tabs here)

There remains a significant difference between polling companies, most notably on the level of support recorded for the Labour party. The reason for this is unclear – polling companies these days are not taking radically different approaches towards turnout modelling or reallocating don’t knows, nor in how the questions are asked (though whether the Brexit party or Greens are prompted may be making a difference in some cases). By default that means the differences are more likely to be down to sampling make up – whether by the way respondents are sampled or weighted, companies are interviewing slightly different people. Specially, some companies seem to get Labour voters who are more loyal than others. I suspect some of this may be down to weighting variables (the measures polling companies choose to use, such as whether they control on education or political interest), perhaps some down to when past vote weighting data is collected – whether it is collected in the survey itself, or was collected at the time of the election (or in the case of MORI, whether past vote weighting is avoided entirely).

My advice, as ever, is to avoid the temptation of assuming that the polls that you’d like to be accurate are the ones that are, and that polls with results that you dislike are wrong ones that can be ignored.

However, it is probably worth paying some attention to polling for the European election results in May. At those elections we saw a very similar difference across polling companies, with extremely large spreads in terms of Labour support (final polls varied from 13% to 25%). It did tend to be the same companies showing high and low Labour support, the most obvious explanations did appear to be down to sampling, and when comparing to final results those companies showing low levels of Labour support were substantially more accurate. I am cautious about how much weight to put on these – after all, along with Ipsos MORI who were most accurate, my own company did conspicuously well here, and I wouldn’t want to fall into wishful thinking myself. There are obviously different challenges in polling low and high turnout elections (and other companies have other questions to ask about, for example, Brexit party support), but I would have thought that, in the absence of changes or explanations, it would sensible to be somewhat cautious of polls at the top end of Labour support if those same polls have very recently overstated Labour support in a national election.


2,849 Responses to “ComRes/Telegraph – CON 25, LAB 28, LDEM 16, BREX 19”

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  1. Allan,
    Can you tell us when “no deal is better than a bad deal” was ever said in the referendum campaign?
    Surely the phrase was coined by Theresa well after the vote.

    Leavers in the referendum campaign never hinted there might be such a thing as a “bad deal”. Only with the cold light of day we realise we might have to choose the lesser of two evils, with Leavers not even agreeing which would be worse.

  2. ANDREW111
    Allan,
    Actually the Lib Dems never suggested they would beat the Brexit Party in the Euro Elections and were more than happy to be the largest of 5.5 Remain parties (counting Labour as 0.5) which forced the Tories into 5th place. The Brexit Party were the only ones (sorry, apart from UKIP and a few neo-fascists) advocating no deal and only got 30%.

    I am sure you will agree that no deal has been comprehensively duled out by the electorate
    ______________

    Another deluded post. The Lib/Dems made the Euros a contest between leave and remain. They said vote Lib/Dem to send a message to stop Brexit but they failed completely to get that message across.

    Going by the tone of your post you’re doing a classic liberal thing and moving the goal posts. So now the entire electorate is either pro leave without a deal or pro remain?

    The mind boggles…What happened to us Brexit supporters who want a deal but may have to accept a no deal scenario..where do we fit in?

  3. Allan Christie

    “Oh good lord give me strength….How can I provide evidence on something that I never said? ”

    I am not discussing what you may have said – this is about the Leave campaign, and specifically Raab’s claim that it warned of the ‘No Deal scenario.

    So I am basically accusing Raab (and others from the Leave campaign) of trying to re-write history – not you.

  4. LEWBLEW
    @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    No party has got over 50% in Brecon in 50 years. Not so long ago it was a 3-way (what goes on in Wales…). I think it would be remarkable if the Lib Dems got 50%, although with Labour collapsing perhaps it’s possible.
    _______________

    I absolutely agree with you but on this occasion the by election is not fought on normal domestic parameters.

    Plaid Cymru (who have seen a mini surge in Wales) and the Greens have stepped aside to give the Lib/Dems a much better chance of winning and with the Lib’s pro remain message surely this is their chance to win 50% plus in this seat. If they do that then their message at least in this part of Wales will have gotten across.

    Lets be honest, If the Lib/Dems win the seat with 40% of the vote then we can be assured they will still attribute their win to sending a message to stop Brexit.

  5. JAMES E
    Allan Christie

    I am not discussing what you may have said – this is about the Leave campaign, and specifically Raab’s claim that it warned of the ‘No Deal scenario.

    So I am basically accusing Raab (and others from the Leave campaign) of trying to re-write history – not you.
    __________________

    Fair enough but many things were said on both sides and to quote what a few have said in my view is cherry picking.

    Before and during the EU referendum how many voters would have even known who Raab was?

  6. Talking of global warming – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/01/uk-weather-homes-evacuated-floods-hit-north-of-england

    This sort of stuff doesn’t happen in the UK. We’ve got incredible standards of engineering, monitoring and maintaining for water services infrastructure, but the pressure being put on these systems by man made climate change is having big impacts, even in the UK.

  7. “@britainelects
    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 34% (+9)
    LAB: 24% (-3)
    LDEM: 20% (+5)
    BREX: 9% (-7)
    GRN: 6% (-1) ”

    This has been a disappointing day here, given it was supposed to be a special, August 1st edition to be set aside for Squabbling About Brexit”.

    Instead there are innumerable posts squabbling about CO2 and babies.

    Anyway, re the poll; like many it suggests a typical 50% to 40+% against crashing out on Oct. 31st.

    BUT – we have an electoral system that, based on current figures could see a fairly large, Johnson-led majority Tory government.

    Anybody not concerned about democracy in this country bleedin’ well should be.

    We need PR urgently. Especially that, once we had it, the voting figures would change substantially anyway as it would put an end to the temptation to vote against, rather than for, political parties.

    For example, in my constituency I can’t vote for anyone but Labour because I don’t want a Tory MP. With PR I could make a wider choice and, as things stand, would exercise that choice.

  8. Some of you may find this Interesting

    https://judithcurry.com/2018/10/11/climate-uncertainty-monster-whats-the-worst-case/

    “To my mind, if the scientists really wanted to communicate the risk from future climate change, they should at least articulate the worst possible case (heck, was anyone scared by that 4? of extra sea level rise?). Emphasis on POSSIBLE. The possible worst case puts upper bounds on what could happen, based upon our current background knowledge. The exercise of trying to articulate the worst case illuminates many things about our understanding (or lack thereof) and the uncertainties. A side effect of such an exercise would be to lop of the ‘fat tails’ that economists/statisticians are so fond of manufacturing.”

  9. Just had a thought about the Brexit Party: their colour is pale blue, one of the leave campaigns used and one of Brexit’s MEP’s worked for Cambridge Analytica, and there were those awful chaps from Cambridge University that ended up spying for the soviets, it all smacks of thold Fenland Poly not keeping its chaps and Chapesses in order.
    Of course the true blue is the dark blue of the University on the Isis and this is obviously finally being remembered by the the natural Tories returning to the fold with Boris the Balliol man.

    To inject humour is the only way I can get through this: I am a Balliol graduate and a near contempary of Boris (I came up the year he left after being in Ruskin two years before that and being well aware of the blonde one). Knowing him I would remind all who place their hopes in him of Psalm 146 v 3 & 4
    “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help. His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish”

    Boris returns to his earth always, that is what is in Boris’ interests no-one else’s.

  10. Rosie&Dandelion

    This has been a disappointing day here, given it was supposed to be a special, August 1st edition to be set aside for Squabbling About Brexit”.

    Instead there are innumerable posts squabbling about CO2 and babies
    ________________

    Well I might have mentioned babies and CO2 in one of my posts but as far as Brexit is concerned I’m gold star martial.

  11. @Alec

    “You seem to be talking about overall climate change. This isn’t a theory – it’s something that happens for lots of different reasons. The point of contention is how much of the observed (non theoretical) global warming is due to the proven CO2 global warming mechanism – in other words, how much of the warming is due to the theory, and how much to natural factors.

    So yes, we do seem to be in agreement, and it’s probably a slightly loose application of global warming theory that led to the confusion. Bottom line is that we can agree there is no doubt whatsoever that man made CO2 emissions are acting to warm the atmosphere.”

    ———

    I made clear that I understood the contribution of the greenhouse effect in my original reply to Pete, and subsequently. (Where I talked about how Methane has a more powerful but shorter-lived effect).

    The contribution of natural sources is, agreed, one thing that might confound, but there are others.

    For example, there may be some strange feedback (or forward) mechanism we don’t know about, and you can’t rule out that there may even be some issue with the greenhouse mechanism we don’t yet know about. (Though if that were the case it might usher in a scientific revolution).

    For all we know, there might be some currently hidden, unexpected cooling effect that may occur and CO2 might compensate for it.

    In the Sixties, we had some harsh winters. Some were worrying about global cooling due to pollution. But we acted on pollution, and then in the mid-Seventies, we started having heatwaves.

    The cooling effect of the pollution was to some extent masking the underlying heating effect of the CO2.

    So caution is advised, but this doesn’t mean rejection. It means checking it out more, taking it more seriously.

  12. @ALLAN CHRISTIE
    I clearly stated in my post that the message was “no deal is better than a bad deal”

    Can you give me any link where that was said during the referendum campaign. From my recollection that was only mentioned sometime after the vote. During the campaign it was all about the’ easiest deal in history’ and they need us more than we need them

  13. Allan C

    I am quoting Raab because of what Raab himself said just three days ago:

    “We made clear – those in the campaign – that we should strive for a good deal but, if that wasn’t available, that we should go on and make a success of Brexit,” he said
    “I was questioned on it by the BBC almost every time I appeared and so was Michael Gove… There’s all sorts of interviews which said that of course we’d prefer a deal, but that there would be a risk,” Mr Raab told the BBC on Monday.

    Obviously, he isn’t the first politician to be exposed for an untruth or two, but surely we are entitled to expect better from all our politicians, especially from one who has recently become a senior member of the cabinet , as Foreign Secretary?

  14. This is from the editor of the FT, and is one of the points I made yesterday –

    “Sterling below $1.21. BMW boss warns against hard Brexit. The more Boris Johnson bangs on about no ifs and buts and heads toward cliff edge, the more likely he will crash the currency.”

    For Cons to keep hold of BXP voters they need to convince that they are prepared to crash the economy. The markets and business will react to that. That may cost votes. To assuage them, Johnson will upset BXP voters.

  15. Rosieanddasie

    That’s it for me. I was waiting for another pollster to confirm a 10pt lead for the Tories.

    If this doesn’t wake up Labour then nothing will.

    They need to do what it takes to function as a viable opposition.

    1. Change leader. Corbyn is widely unpopular outside of the membership.
    2. Sort out their ambiguous Brexit stance. They really can’t afford to be woolly on the defining issue of our time.

    If they don’t wake up and smell the coffee surely they are doomed.

  16. ROSIEANDDAISIE

    For example, in my constituency I can’t vote for anyone but Labour because I don’t want a Tory MP. With PR I could make a wider choice and, as things stand, would exercise that choice.
    _________________

    Yip that’s the ol FPTP conundrum for you. I share your views on this.

  17. @ALEC

    “Talking of global warming – https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/aug/01/uk-weather-homes-evacuated-floods-hit-north-of-england

    This sort of stuff doesn’t happen in the UK. We’ve got incredible standards of engineering, monitoring and maintaining for water services infrastructure, but the pressure being put on these systems by man made climate change is having big impacts, even in the UK.”

    ——-

    Indeed. I saw a programme some years ago which considered the impacts on us if climate change leads to the Gulf Stream stopping (because of the meltwater from Greenland changing the salinity of the seawater? IIRC).

    It seems our buildings and infrastructure might be rather challenged by the resulting icy conditions. They’re not built to withstand that amount of snow and ice.

  18. Bad news all round in the July manufacturing PMI. New orders, output and employment all down.

    “Manufacturers linked lower order intakes and production to ongoing uncertainties (political, global trade tensions and Brexit) and slower world economic growth.”

    Worse news? – “Companies also noted that some clients were routing supply chains away from the UK in advance of Brexit.”

    That’s what’s called ‘re-shoring’, I believe.

  19. Allan,

    You seem to be getting yourself in a bit of a tizzie trying to interpret opinions on Brexit from election results. You keep focussing on the Lib Dems, when quite a few Parties made the election all about Brexit, including the Labour Party which certainly positioned itself against the no-deal Brexit of the BXP, and presumably pleased you with their commitment (at the time) to a “Labour Brexit”. And then muddying the water with expectations of the Lib Dems scoring 50% + in Brecon and Radnor, a place that was reckoned to have voted quite solidly Leave in the referendum.. It would certainly be well worth seeing the Lib Dems achieve that if only to see what gyrations on a pin head you would invent to explain it.

    To simplify things for you, I refer you here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum#Remain/Leave

    You can see the mixed bag of polls up to the referendum, then all the polls in line with the result from June 2016 up to the General Election, a period where the pollsters were able to scale their sample to actual referendum polling and therefore start getting things right, and then the shift after the General election to a significant Remain lead with only a handful of polls showing Leave even drawing with Remain. These polls are also weighted to referendum vote and therefore much more likely to be correct than the pre-referendum polls, which were weighted to 2015 voting

    This is the basis for saying that opinion has changed enough that democracy requires that we test public opinion now with another referendum, otherwise we may be leaving against “the Will of the People”, which I am sure you would agree would be a bad thing.

  20. Alec and Carfrew

    https://res.mdpi.com/climate/climate-05-00076/article_deploy/climate-05-00076.pdf?filename=&attachment=1

    Here is an interesting article on deep palaeoclimate suggesting that at much higher CO2 levels than we see today, temperature and CO2 level did not correlate.

    This does not suggest that the current correlation is wrongly interpreted, just that things are complicated by feedbacks and perhaps forcings that we do not fully understand (and perhaps at timescales that frankly do not affect us).
    In the Quaternary ice ages we are pretty sure that variations in solar radiation from Milankovitch (orbital) cycles drove the warming and cooling. Yet CO2 also correlates with temperature then because warming the ocean releases CO2. Release of that CO2 accelerates warming. We may be doing the same thing with methyl clathrates in the shallow levels of subsea sediments in the Arctic. Sublimination of those could amplify the rate of global warming, ice melt and sea level rise.
    Anyway, what we are doing is a giant experiment with the planet we live on, with unpredictable but very probably unpleasant consequences. “Bad” as the great Trump would say

  21. WB61

    “To inject humour is the only way I can get through this”

    Go on then.

    [But please don’t “remind” us of any more psalms; I’m sure they seemed funny at the time but the humour must have dated.]

    TONYBTG

    Agree with everything you say. It is past a joke. The man is virtually invisible on the main political drama.

    [A “jobs’ first brexit” doesn’t really get the pulse racing does it?]

  22. Re Brecon

    According to the write up in the Guardian, the LD tactics seem to be deliberately avoid mentioning Brexit wherever possible because of it being a leave area.

    The Tories seem to have though, with letters from Johnson about delivering Brexit, but hard to make concrete conclusions about Brexit based on the result.

  23. @Alec

    “Yes we’ve agreed on this. I acknowledged this initially by referencing the idea of ‘proving’ anything in a philosophical sense.
    With CO2 atmospheric warming we can measure it with great accuracy, we understand the physical process and the precise science behind it, so we are all very clear on what is happening, how much CO2 is being emitted by fossil fuels, and the impact of this.
    There are then other confounding and contributing variables which may mitigate or exacerbate this effect, and these are the ones where knowledge is less well developed and where uncertainty remains.
    And I am aware that Popper has popped up again, but the realm of public policy has less demanding thresholds for the concept of proof, so I think we should be happy to move the argument on to how best to deal with CO2 based global warming.
    Like I say – it looks like we’re all agreed on this, and have ironed out the misunderstandings.”

    ——-

    Yes that’s closer. And I certainly think we should endeavour to control levels of CO2 as best we can, because of the general utility, on other planets not just here. It would be useful, even if there turn out to be confounding factors concerning CO2, feedback effects etc.

    But given the complexity of the climate, and how it is still early days in our understanding of it, don’t be surprised if there are things to confound current expectations. Thus I think we should remain tentative and keep checking the model, and be prepared to adjust if we find summat confounding.

    Public policy may have, at times, less demanding thresholds for proof, but that isn’t necessarily always a good thing, and the point is to take that into account really. One can’t just dismiss the Popper stuff as some philosophical fancy that doesn’t apply in the real world.

  24. WB61,
    The commandeering of light blue by the Brexit Party is a bit of an affront given the overwhelming opposition to Brexit in the Cambridge constituency (significantly greater than either of the Oxford constituencies according to Hanretty).

    Glad you see that BJ is not a great advert for Oxford University (which is of course by and large the one the Toffs go to…)

  25. @AndrewIII

    Thanks for the article on higher CO2 concentrations, which I wasn’t aware of. And yes, the clathrates thing is a bit scary…

  26. 82% of Scotland’s exports are to the ?? UK and non-EU countries. The SNP’s bid to break Scotland away from the rest of the UK is perhaps not such a great idea…….?

    Rachel Hamilton’s tweet. She is the S Con MSP and Shadow Culture and Tourism Cabinet Secretary.

    https://twitter.com/Rachael2Win/status/1156590432316461056

  27. @SAM

    Who cares about shortbread and whiskey. I’m a real ale and scone man anyway (not at the same time).

    RE. BRECON & RADNORSHIRE

    How about we all do a deal – if Lib+Lab is more than 50% today, we cancel Brexit. If Brxplc+Con+Loony+UKIP is more than 50%, we continue with it? :)

  28. @Colin

    ‘Was it politicians or scientists that concentrated on CO2 & told us to switch to diesel-omitting to tell us that the NOx would kill us. ?’

    The NOx (and particulates) are problematic only if released in a densely populated urban area. For both politicians and scientists, the switch to diesel made perfect sense, c. 2007, as part of a holistic programme that also included a massive and rapid reduction in car use in densely populated urban areas. Remember that, back in those days, densely populated urban areas had affordable and convenient public transport subsidized by well-resourced institutions of local and regional government; engineers at Siemens were busy preparing the signage and equipment for the westward extension of the London congestion charging zone (good job the so-and-so who decided to cancel that faded into obscurity, eh?); and consultations were in progress on the roll-out of congestion charging to other major cities.

  29. HDAN

    @”For both politicians and scientists, the switch to diesel made perfect sense, ”

    And for Car Manufacturers too :-

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diesel_emissions_scandal

    ….which puts your insouciance about NOx into its proper context :-

    https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa8850

  30. @Pete B: ‘Anyway, back to the polls. Ipsos Mori
    Tories 34
    Labour 24
    LibDem 20
    Brexit 9’

    I think that’s the third poll in Conservative overall majority territory. Will Boris be tempted?

  31. Interesting. Allegedly this is a leaked document for government eyes only.

    Of course, for certain people, this is all Project Fear.

    No need to worry, it will all be fine.

    https://news.sky.com/story/uk-faces-potential-consumer-panic-and-security-gaps-under-no-deal-brexit-says-government-document-11775217

  32. ALLAN CHRISTIE @ ANDREW111

    Lighten up folks. Suggest you try Carlin’s Everyday expressions.

  33. Lewblew

    ” If Brxplc+Con+Loony+UKIP is more than 50%, we continue with it? :)”

    I don’t think that the Loony Party would be happy to be lumped in with pro-Brexit parties like that. Their position is rather more nuanced…

    https://www.loonyparty.com/4509/5959/some-brexit-policies/

  34. Lewblew

    Noel Edmund’s couldn’t do any worse!

    Their policy is less looney than Labour’s

  35. The big question tonight in Brecon. Who gets the wooden spoon? Will UKIP be below Monster Raving Looney Lily The Pink?
    Will Labour be a very bad fourth?
    Surely not below Lily The Pink?

  36. @JAMES E / TONYBTG

    I agree with Loony’s Brittany policy. I’d also want Calais back (if they cleared it up first).

    Polls have just closed in Brecon….. let’s see who’s right.

  37. Labour held Brecon and Radnorshire from 1945 to 1979

  38. “Suggest you try Carlin’s Everyday expressions.”

    ——–

    If that appeals, here’s Carlin on Airlines and their lingo

    https://youtu.be/vdPy5Ikn7dw

    And Carlin on Climate Change

    https://youtu.be/BB0aFPXr4n4

  39. @Colin

    Thanks for the link to the paper. You’re one up on me by having cited a peer-reviewed source. The best I can offer by way of an attempt to equalize is Rabl et al. (2007, _J. Toxicol. Environ. Health_ *50*(3-4):316-331), but that only addresses my point somewhat obliquely. Actually, though, I don’t think we really need to keep score, because I don’t think either of us has said anything particularly controversial. I agree with you that there’s no cause for insouciance in the truly appalling consequences of the way diesel cars and LCVs are currently deployed, and there’s certainly no cause for insouciance in the fact that people who should know better have chosen to falsify regulatory emissions tests. However, it’s no good trying to blame any of that on people [*] who recommended, in a wholly different public policy environment, that diesel cars and LCVs should be deployed in an entirely different way, nor on people [*] who generate real empirical data with honest estimates of systematic errors and uncertainties.

    [*] Or rather, “person”, since I believe Mail Group Newspapers have one particular individual in mind as primary blamant.

  40. Sorry, wrong volume number in the reference in my previous post: should have been 70, not 50.

  41. Alec,
    “…the pressure being put on these systems by man made climate change is having big impacts”

    Or maybe it was a privatised water company not keeping up the maintenance?

    Or it was a very old dam, where slow action over decades had undermined the concrete facing, which suddenly collapsed today. The dam was plainly designed to cope with the amount of water in it in the news pictures, and it was intended the suplus go over the concrete spillway in the centre. It didnt fail because of too much rain. Or because the rain was too hot or too cold.

    “For Cons to keep hold of BXP voters they need to convince that they are prepared to crash the economy.”

    Well Alec, more evidence for the Danny theory of government?

    No, to keep hold of leave voters, they need to show they will push ahead with brexit, but they also need to show brexit will be beneficial, because if they do the former but not the latter, then they simply look like suicidal maniacs.

    The more they say they will spend billions trying to rescue the brexit disaster, the more moderate leavers are going to worry. Its a strategy which automatically undermines the likelihood of any brexit.

  42. “The NOx (and particulates) are problematic only if released in a densely populated urban area.”

    ——

    Yes, one might expect that more people would be affected in areas with more people, but I’m not sure how much that reassures, given 83% of the population lived in urban areas in 2017 and the trend has been for more urbanisation for many years.

    https://www.statista.com/statistics/270369/urbanization-in-the-united-kingdom/

    A lot of people are affected. An investigation indicated the level of air pollution in 6,500 UK schools exceeded WHO limits, including all schools in London.

    https://www.driving.co.uk/news/millions-children-affected-dangerous-levels-air-pollution-school/

  43. @Carfrew: ‘83% of the population lived in urban areas’

    My point was not that we weren’t expecting there to be people in urban areas. My point of historical recollection was that we were expecting, by this time, there to be far fewer car movements in urban areas. Clearly, our expectation was wrong. My contention was that our expectation was _caused_ to be wrong by a series of utterly ludicrous policy interventions that took place in the meantime.

  44. new thread

  45. @HDAN

    “My point was not that we weren’t expecting there to be people in urban areas. My point of historical recollection was that we were expecting, by this time, there to be far fewer car movements in urban areas.”

    ———

    Yes, you did indeed say that we were expecting fewer car movements, owing to more public transport, and I did not contest that.

    The issue was with the bit I quoted, where you said “The NOx (and particulates) are problematic only if released in a densely populated urban area.”

    Which is problematic in that it doesn’t provide much comfort to know that more people are affected when more people are present, especially when most people live in urban areas, urbanisation has been increasing for years, and the concentration is bad enough to affect many schools.

    This is before getting into the wisdom of expecting a reduction in traffic in urban areas when people keep moving to them, and cars become easier to drive and park and navigate with power steering, sat nav, parking aids etc.

    And before considering whether you’re better off in terms of exposure to pollution if travelling by public transport or car. But there is data on that, which I shall post next…

  46. So, what mode of transport is worst for pollution as a commuter? Well studies can differ, but this Lancet review of the research…

    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-2667(16)30021-4/fulltext

    …Concludes that Commuting by car is the worst, followed by active commuting (by bike etc.), followed by commuting by bus, then motorcycle, then a car with controlled ventilation settings, then finally MMT (Massive Motorised Transport – train, subway or metro).

    So you might normally be worse off in a car, UNLESS you have controlled ventilation settings, which they define as… “We stratified cars into two categories: cars that had controlled ventilation settings (windows closed, air conditioning on or off, or air recirculation modes on or off) and those without controlled ventilation settings.”

    And you get more exposure to pollution from things like cycling, but the health benefits from being active can outweigh the effects of the pollution

    “Larger inhalation rates and commuting time increased inhaled dose among active commuters. Benefits of active commuting from physical activity are larger than the risk from an increased inhaled dose of fine particles.”

    The train might still be preferable, but if you’re thinking of travelling by tube…

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-46820584

    “The average concentration of particulate pollution was found to be about 30 times higher than that found at monitoring sites close to a busy London road.

    A similar length journey on a bus in the capital would expose passengers to about one third of the amount of particulates compared to the Tube, researchers discovered.”

    “Particulate pollution was also found to be generally higher on London’s Tube system compared to other subway systems.

    Researchers said this was “likely due to the system’s age and the fact that large parts of the network are in deep, poorly ventilated tunnels”.”

  47. @carfrew: ‘it doesn’t provide much comfort to know that more people are affected when more people are present’

    It’s not just that: I’m pretty sure that, over the relevant range of concentrations, the dose-response relationships for NOx and particulates are non-linear and concave-upwards (although maddeningly, I couldn’t find a peer-reviewed source for that when I was digging for one last night – the institutional login system on ScienceDirect seems to have gone really screwy for the past couple of weeks).

    Assuming I’ve remembered that correctly, it means that when you compare a rural setting (low concentration) and an urban setting (high concentration), even if the total exposure (in the sense of the product of concentration, number of people exposed, and duration of exposure) is the same in both settings, the harm done is (much) less in the rural setting.

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