Take note, UK leaders! 73% of Brits back onshore wind
The British public believes in wind energy even more than previously thought, research published this week has shown.
Climate charity 10:10 commissioned ComRes to carry out the poll to tie in with the launch of its campaign, Blown Away, which aims to demonstrate to the UK Government that British people back wind energy, and secure more high-level support for the sector. ComRes found that 73% of British public supported onshore wind farms, which is higher than the 69% in official government figures, and just 17% opposed.
Interestingly, people did not know the level of support for wind farms across the country.
Just 10% of the 2,037 adults interviewed in the UK said they thought it was more than 70%, and, on average, respondents thought it was a lowly 42%. Blown Away is seeking to change this perception, while also making UK leaders aware of the wide support that wind energy has in the country, in order to convince them to increase support for renewable energy.
The government should already be well aware of such consensus as its own polls show similar numbers. The latest survey, published by the now-defunct Department of Energy & Climate Change in April 2016, showed 81% of the 2,105 people interviewed supported the use of renewables in the UK, including 69% support for onshore wind.
By contrast, opposition to renewables was very low at 4%, with only 2% strongly opposed.
Both polls draw the same encouraging picture. They show increasing awareness and sensitivity in the British public to the green energy question. If only UK leaders would listen.
Campaigns like Blown Away could actually be good news also for investors and manufacturers. They could play an important role in convincing the government to fund more wind projects instead of putting all the resources in nuclear and shale energies. The charity’s partners in the private sector include Abundance, Good Energy, Google and retailer Lush.
Will they succeed? It’s questionable. Since coming to power in May 2015, without a coalition partner, the Conservative Party has been cutting support for renewables including onshore wind; and has faced tough questions, including from the National Audit Office last week, about the level of renewable energy subsidies it has paid under its Levy Control Framework. New incentives for onshore wind are not likely to be on the UK Government’s agenda any time soon, but it could relax planning rules to encourage development.
And wind also faces a big challenge from the mainstream media. A research conducted by the Imperial College of London showed that more than two-thirds of newspaper comment and editorial articles about onshore wind energy in the last five years were negative.
Max Wakefield from 10:10 said Blown Away could help to change this perception.
"The UK public love wind power and they don’t even realise,” he said. “It’s plainly not true onshore wind is unpopular with the UK public. It’s time our politicians caught up."
Because if there is one thing we can say about the Government’s approach to onshore wind in the last 17 months, it is this: we haven’t been blown away.