King's Speech briefing document

17th July 2024

Download the report here.

 

Our second weekly report not only tracks overall voting intention but also offers insight into how policies relating to infrastructure are being viewed by voters.  The report preview can be found by clicking below.

 

Key findings include:

– Labour’s lead remains solid at 20 points, as campaign passes halfway point
– Voters trust Labour over Tories and Lib Dems to hit net zero targets for 2035
– Uncertainty about whether Starmer can keep promises

 

To discuss the findings in more detail, and to discuss how your organisation can make sure they are prepared for the election please email Patrick Traynor.

Now that the dust has settled following the publication of the manifestos by Labour and the Conservatives, many are looking to see whether there is any greater clarity on their policies on carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS), hydrogen and industrial clusters.

Industrial decarbonisation, CCUS and hydrogen has been one policy area that has seen relatively large-scale government intervention over the last few years. Clusters have emerged across the UK, and started to progress at different speeds. This has been supported by various funding schemes alongside private investment. But it remains early days in this process, and therefore the election comes at a pivotal time for the clusters and these industries.

 

Industrial clusters and CCUS

The Conservative manifesto effectively commits in high level terms. This would continue the mission they have already started on industrial and CCUS clusters.

The manifesto commits to building the first two carbon capture and storage clusters, based across North Wales, the North West of England and Teesside & Humber. This is referring to the HyNet and East Coast clusters which are already being developed at various speeds. Some areas of shared infrastructure progressing through the planning process and individual projects within these clusters advancing through the government’s cluster sequencing phases.

There is also a commitment to further expansion, which again, is a reference to plans by the current government to expand the clusters to cover Aberdeen and Humberside. It’s an area of energy policy under this government where there has already been plenty of state involvement. Nonetheless, industry will welcome the recommitment to this important area. Labour, by comparison, is committing £1 billion to accelerating deployment of carbon capture. It also wishes to invest in storage too, as part of its overall ‘Clean Power by 2030’ pledge. Labour intends to finance these industrial clusters in ‘every corner of the country’ via its National Wealth Fund.

Both parties remain committed to achieving net zero by 2050. Whilst Labour will likely continue with the cluster model, time will tell how they might deviate from existing plans. For example, how would they treat projects outside the clusters, and what other regions would be a priority for expansion?

 

Hydrogen

The home heating debate remains a difficult one for all political parties. Intriguingly, the manifestos do not provide a definitive answer. A bit more light is shed on the approach to industrial hydrogen.

The Tory manifesto only mentions hydrogen once. It does so in relation to a future government helping oversee the Scottish workplace transition to hydrogen, offshore wind, tidal and carbon capture. The current government previously published a hydrogen strategy. In that, it committed to an ambition for 10GW of low carbon hydrogen production capacity by 2030. It has supported a number of projects through hydrogen funding schemes. With this in mind, it is interesting to see this not given prominence in the manifesto.

Labour, however, gives more detail on where it would go on hydrogen. It plans to invest £500 million alone in supporting the manufacture of green hydrogen via its National Wealth Fund. It expects to do this in ‘every corner of the country’, suggesting a hydrogen strategy with a more nationwide focus.

 

Conclusion

Both parties share a commitment to a continuation of industrial and CCUS clusters. The Conservatives focus on Scotland, Wales and the North East, with plans for additional expansion. Industry will be pleased to see that both parties have some consensus on their value. However, a question mark remains over what Labour might do differently if they win on 4th July. Questions also remain about what other regions might come into play outside the existing clusters following a Labour victory.

The Conservatives provided less detail in their manifesto on plans for hydrogen, in spite of previous commitments on raising overall production capacity, which might give industry some pause for thought. Labour provided a more sweeping, costed strategy for green hydrogen. This might give more reassurance for industry on potential expansion in government investment in this field.

One thing is clear: there will be divergences over the scope of industrial and CCUS cluster and hydrogen policy depending on which party wins, but government investment will remain integral for all three areas for the time being.

 

Find more content around the General Election here. 

Download the report here.

 

Our second weekly report not only tracks overall voting intention but also offers insight into how policies relating to infrastructure are being viewed by voters.  The report preview can be found by clicking below.

To discover the full report, register for our event online. ⬇️

This event will dive into the early polling and how policies relating to infrastructure are being viewed by voters.

📍online
⏰ 12:30pm – 1:30pm
📆 Thursday 13th of June

 

To discuss the findings in more detail, and to discuss how your organisation can make sure they are prepared for the election please email Patrick Traynor.

Download the briefing here.

Find the latest on the Labour Energy Policy through our briefing that explains what this means for projects and businesses.

To discuss the findings in more detail, and to discuss how your organisation can make sure they are prepared for the election please email Patrick Traynor.

Download the report here.

 

We are excited to announce that during the election campaign, Copper has teamed up with BMG (both part of the RSK group) to offer a weekly election polling service.

 

Our first weekly report not only tracks overall voting intention but offers insight into how policies relating to infrastructure are being viewed by voters.  The full report can be found by clicking below.

 

Key findings include:

 

1. Great British Energy has widespread popular support and crucially is getting traction during the early weeks of the campaign. Support for GBE was as high as it has been since we started tracking

2. Labour is more trusted by voters to deliver than the Conservatives on almost all policy areas, including energy

3. Labours’ plans to build on the green belt look like one of their least popular policies, but there is a big split on this between young and old.

 

To discuss the findings in more detail, and to discuss how your organisation can make sure they are prepared for the election please email Patrick Traynor.

Download the report here.

 

We’ve interviewed more than 1,500 members of the public to understand how important they consider the climate challenge to be for the next Government.
To understand the challenges and opportunities around ensuring we have adequate climate policies, we need to put ourselves in the shoes of politicians to comprehend what is likely to drive voter decision-making at the ballot box at the next general election. We also need to understand the kind of government the UK public wants.
Our report features insights into:
  • The current voting intent
  • Issues impacting voters today
  • Where the next government should invest
  • The need for the public to understand the link between the economy and new low-carbon power generation
  • Energy in Scotland and Wales

 

Contact us for further information.

We recently collaborated on the  ‘Breaking through the barriers’ report as part of RSK’s Power On campaign, where industry experts provide their insights to uncover key opportunities in energy development. Breaking through the barriers looks at all the issue that energy developers are facing within their projects.

Working alongside EDF Renewables UK & Ireland, Scottish Renewables, Orrön Energy, Anglo Renewables Ltd, Ecowende, Vattenfall, RSK Wilding, Certus Utility Consulting Ltd (An RSK Company),Proeon Systems Ltd., WRc Group and RSK Environment.

 

Our key takeaways include:

  • The need for a compelling story, communities will be more likely to buy into the projects, making consent easier to achieve.
  • Social views have the power to drive change, as they often garner a response from policymakers.
  • When projects become realised, vocal opposition is understandably commonplace, but the key is to set this voice in context.
  • Informed consent is achievable when armed with political alignment and the right communications tactics.

 

Let’s get into the detail:

 

Creating a voice for the people

People are at the heart of the consenting process, often determining the success or failure of a project. If we develop a voice and an approach to communication that demonstrates a longer-term commitment to relationship building and community shaping, and if we pair that with an integrated delivery plan as opposed to creating one-off experiences, the path to consent can be far smoother and more rewarding.

 

Educate > build support > advocate

The journey to consent is exactly that: educating key audiences, building support from stakeholders and advocating for projects. It is important to begin educating audiences through data-tested narratives and then working this into a wider campaign that drives awareness and helps define how projects are discussed and regarded. This can help build support in the minds of the decision-makers. Advocacy is driven through leveraging support and ensuring engagement activities and opportunities are provided for stakeholders to advocate the benefits of projects.

 

The value of being data-driven

Staying up to date on the latest insights and public narrative is one thing; understanding how to become a heard voice within the narrative is another.  By using data-led communication strategies, you can gain a better understanding of behaviours and motives driving consent decisions. Data-led strategies also enable aspects of your communications that are under-performing to be established quickly, saving critical programme time and costs for your business. Factoring performance management analytics tools into your strategies is central to delivering effective communications.

 

Interested in finding out more about how to work with Copper? Get in touch today. 

You can explore the live webinars hosted by RSK Group, led by industry experts here

Lisa Childs, Senior Account Director at Copper, looks ahead to what a new First Minister of Wales in 2024 means for Wales’ net zero ambitions

The news in Cardiff Bay this week was the worst-kept secret in Wales; a question of when, not if, following heavy hinting and the postponement of Welsh Labour’s annual conference from March to July 2024.

On Wednesday, Mark Drakeford announced his resignation as Welsh Labour leader. In his statement, he said: “When I stood for election as Leader of Welsh Labour, I said I would stand down during the current Senedd term. That time has now come”.

However, I don’t think anyone was expecting the announcement would come before Christmas, hurtling the WhatsApp groups of Cardiff Bay into chaos.

It was an emotional day, as we reflected on the sacrifices the First Minister made during the pandemic, the visible impact the loss of his life partner has had on him, and lamented what might have been had the Covid-19 pandemic not dominated his premiership.

Mark Drakeford succeeded Carwyn Jones as First Minister in 2018 and outlined his intention to stand down and First Minster halfway through his second term. Mr Drakeford will stay on as First Minister of Wales until his successor is elected as Welsh Labour leader, and appointed as First Minister, in March 2024.

 

Battle of the big-ticket departments

The First Minister’s announcement has sparked the firing gun on the next Welsh Labour party leadership election. The expected front runners are Vaughan Gething (Minister for Economy) and Jeremy Miles (Minister for Education and Welsh Language) – although rumours are also circling around Eluned Morgan (Health Minister) and Hannah Blythyn (Deputy Minister for Social Partnership).

Vaughan Gething has been forefront of engagement with stakeholders regarding the Celtic freeport and investment in Wales, and benefits from union support, an existing profile within the business community and, perhaps, higher public recognition due to his previous role as Health Minister during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nonetheless, both front runners have served as prominent Cabinet members in the Welsh Government so it is likely that, no matter the outcome, we will see a continuation of the current approach towards decarbonisation and major energy and infrastructure projects.

 

What this means for energy and infrastructure policy

The First Minister has been steadfast in his commitment to net zero, with his close ally Julie James heading up the key department responsible for maximising the opportunity that net zero presents for the Welsh economy.

With the Infrastructure Bill making its way through the Senedd, the establishment of Ynni Cymru, the Celtic Sea offshore wind opportunity and other developments on the horizon, Wales is on the cusp of a green energy revolution.

However, if we are to decarbonise, if we are to reach our net zero targets, and if we are to achieve 100% of Wales’ annual electricity consumption from renewable energy by 2035, then we must also acknowledge that we do not currently have the grid connectivity to do so.

It is widely recognised that the lack of grid infrastructure is holding back the green economy; indeed, the Climate Minister, Julie James, highlighted it as the number one issue for her team at the Future Energy Wales conference held in November 2023. This would surely be a priority policy area for the incoming First Minister and their climate minister to focus on.

Another priority, which the Infrastructure Bill attempts to solve, is around the constraints in the DNS consenting process that is leading to delays and adding critical time to project lifespans.

Wales is not on track to meet its 2035 commitments unless the Welsh Government supercharge their consenting processes. Renewable UK’s Plug The Gap report questioned whether Wales’ DNS system is robust enough and up to the challenge presented by the climate emergency.

There have been 22 applications under the regime in the past 7 years, with a 41% refusal rate. Of the 9 projects refused, 44% were refused by the Minister against the Inspector’s recommendation.

Due to the long-term nature of this policy area, industry and developers will no doubt be calling out for the incoming First Minister to provide consistency, collaboration with industry, and clarity on how we are going to achieve the bold promises and targets set by the Welsh Government.

 

Clear red water?

Having governed in Wales for over 25 years, and against a backdrop of a Conservative UK Government since 2010, how the future First Minister of Wales interacts with the UK Labour team and Kier Starmer will be of interest to business leaders and commentators alike.

Both front-runner candidates are seen to be aligned to the Shadow Cabinet and their policy platform, so any potential for “clear red water” or policy divergence between the Welsh Government and potential future UK Labour Government should be kept at bay.

 

Process

Whilst Welsh Labour haven’t announced the process for electing the next leader, we can assume that it will follow the process used in 2018.

When Carwyn Jones stood down and Mark Drakeford was elected 5 years ago, Welsh Labour used the one-member-one-vote system – like the one used to elect Jeremy Corbyn.

It means all party members – and members of unions and affiliated groups – get an equal vote. So, whilst optically important, which candidates are backed by which unions and other affiliated members becomes less important. Nonetheless, we know that Vaughan Gething enjoys staunch support from the Welsh trade union movement.

In 2018, after candidates were announced, we also saw which Labour Senedd Members (then Assembly Members) nominated each candidate in the Welsh Labour Leadership Election – with Vaughan Gething and Eluned Morgan coming second and third to Mr Drakeford. Although a formality and not weighted in the election, shoring up the backing of fellow MSs will be a key target for candidates and will bolster their campaign.

A rejected alternative option in 2018 was to reform Welsh Labour’s electoral college, giving half the vote to party members and half to affiliated members. To reiterate, the process for electing a leader in 2024 is yet to be confirmed.

 

Copper Cymru

At Copper we have a growing team in Wales of highly skilled and experienced professionals dotted all around the country. We can support with strategic communications, public affairs, community relations and branding & design from project inception to delivery.

We have over 15 years’ experience in delivering for clients in Wales and are currently supporting clients with exciting projects in wind, solar, grid, carbon capture and storage, and re-industrialisation.

We’ll be following the Welsh Labour leadership election every step of the way and providing our expert analysis.

 

Let’s chat // Coffi a chlonc cyn bo hir?

To join our Copper Connect mailing list, or if you’d like support with Welsh public affairs, please get in touch with Lisa.Childs@copperconsultancy.com to find out more.