YouGov: Only 17% support Severn Bridge name change to the ‘Prince of Wales Bridge’

Severn Bridge picture by diego_torres. Alun Cairns picture by Cabinet Office (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Only 17% of people in Wales support the changing of the name of the Second Severn Crossing to the Prince of Wales Bridge, according to a YouGov poll.

The poll commissioned by Nation.Cymru showed that only 7% ‘strongly supported’ the name change. A further 10% ‘tended to support’ the change.

The Westminster Government’s Welsh Secretary, Alun Cairns MP, had said that the “wider, silent majority is absolutely with us” on renaming the bridge, despite over 37,000 signing a petition calling on him to scrap the plans.

The Welsh Government’s Transport Secretary, Ken Skates, had also said that “naming of the bridge after [the Prince of Wales] … is something that many, many people in Wales will support”.

Twice the number of supporters, 34%, opposed renaming the bridge. The opposition was at its strongest in Cardiff, where 51% opposed the plans.

Across Wales, 23% ‘strongly opposed’ renaming the bridge, with a further 11% ‘tending to oppose’.

The poll had asked: “It has been announced that the Second Severn Crossing between Wales and England will be renamed ‘The Prince of Wales Bridge’ in order to mark the 70th birthday of Charles, Prince of Wales.

“To what extent do you support or oppose this name change?”

Support reached 18% in south Wales central and south Wales west, but was lowest at 12% in Cardiff.

Responding to the results, Plaid Cymru Leader Leanne Wood said that she was “not surprised”.

“It shows how out of touch with people the Secretary of State was in imposing this new name on the second Severn crossing,” she said.

“It is just the latest example of the Tory UK Government trying to assert its authority over Wales.

“When other countries are renaming monuments and infrastructure to throw off their imperial past, this is the proposal from the Tories and it’s backed up by Labour.

“Any naming of the bridge or any other significant Welsh landmark should be subject to consultation with people.

“Decisions about Wales should be made in Wales, not imposed upon us.”

A spokesperson for the Welsh Government said that they would not respond to a request for comment as “the decision on the re-naming of the bridge has been made by UK Government”.

The total figures were:

  • 7% strongly supported
  • 10% tended to support
  • 47% had no strong feelings either way
  • 11% tended to oppose
  • 23% strongly opposed
  • 3% didn’t know

The regional figures were:

Mid and West Wales North Wales Cardiff South Wales Central South Wales East South West Wales
Support 17% 17% 12% 18% 17% 18%
Oppose 34% 22% 51% 40% 33% 34%

 

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  The total sample size was 1054 adults, and fieldwork was undertaken between 25th April – 1st May 2018.

The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all Welsh adults (aged 18+).

‘Support’

Yesterday it was revealed that the Welsh Government fully supported the renaming of the Second Severn Crossing to the Prince of Wales Bridge “from the outset”.

The UK Government’s Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, made the claim in a letter to Assembly Member Neil McEvoy.

“Over the last year, I have corresponded regularly with the Welsh Government, Prime Minister’s Office, the Department of Transport and with the Royal Household on the proposal to rename the Second Severn Crossing,” he said.

“The Welsh Government has given its full backing to the decision from the outset.

“Economy Secretary, Ken Skates AM, has confirmed the Welsh Government’s support and commented that changing the name of the Second Severn Crossing to the Prince of Wales Bridge is supported by many people in Wales.

“The new Prince of Wales bridge, together with its sister bridge, will be positive symbols of a newly invigorated economic area post toll abolition, to build a stronger outward looking Wales.”

Independent AM Neil McEvoy said that the Welsh Secretary’s account somewhat contradicted the words of Ken Skates, who had suggested that the Welsh Government became aware of the change late last year.

Ken Skates had stated that the UK Government wrote to the First Minister in September 2017 and “the First Minister did not object to the proposal”.

“I wrote to the Secretary of State for Wales in the hope that Welsh people could be consulted on the bridge name,” Neil McEvoy said.

“The 40,000 people who have been ignored by the Welsh Government wanted something that reflected the modern, confident democracy we’re trying to build.

“But it’s now become clear that Labour and the Conservatives are working together to stop our country from being asked on the name of the main gateway into our country.

“I’ll be writing to the Presiding Officer to determine whether the Cabinet Secretary has misled the Assembly.

“Claiming the Welsh Government did not raise any objections is very different to being regularly consulted over the course of a year and giving full backing from the outset.

“I’ve also submitted a Freedom of Information request for correspondence between the two governments so we can find out who is telling the truth.”


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