Polling published today by Survation, commissioned by RenewableUK, shows that there is overwhelming public support for building new wind and solar farms to tackle the cost of energy crisis, and that the Conservatives risk losing voters if they fail to support renewables.
77% of people throughout the UK think the new Government should use new wind and solar farms to reduce electricity bills, and 76% of people support building renewable energy projects in their local area.
Support is even higher among Conservative voters, with 84% of those who backed the Tories at the last election urging the Government to use new wind and solar farms to cut electricity bills, and 81% of 2019 Tory voters supporting a renewable energy project in their area. The 100 constituencies where support for offshore wind, onshore wind, solar and tidal power is strongest are now predominantly Conservative.
64% of 2019 Conservative voters think the new Government should end the current block on onshore wind in England where it has local support – a proposal the Government committed to explore in the Energy Security Strategy. In contrast, only 16% think the block should remain. There is no majority in favour of the current block in any constituency in England, Scotland or Wales.
Critically for the incoming Government, 68% of the public polled want the new Conservative party leader to increase or maintain investment in renewables, compared to just 14% who want to see investment reduced. 40% of people said they would be less favourable to the Conservative party if the new leader weakens climate change policies, compared to only 16% who would be more favourable.
Each renewable technology enjoys very high levels of public support, with 81% in favour of solar energy, 76% of people backing offshore wind, 74% in favour of onshore wind and 72% backing tidal and wave power.
Voters in every single constituency in England, Scotland and Wales strongly support offshore wind, with approval ranging from at least 74% to 94% amongst those who expressed a view. By the same measure, support for onshore wind by constituency ranges from at least 64% to 93%. A clear majority is also in favour of building local renewable energy projects in their local area in every constituency, with support ranging from 74% to 93%. across all constituencies, 71% to 93% of people think the new Government should use wind and solar farms to cut bills.
RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Dan McGrail said:
“These findings are wake-up call to every politician, including the new Prime Minister, that the overwhelming majority of people want to see new investment in renewables and are happy to see new wind and solar farms built in their local area to drive energy bills down. At a time when we need to shift from expensive gas to low-cost renewables as rapidly as possible, most people agree that if local communities support having a wind farm nearby, the Government shouldn’t stand in their way.
“We’re keen to work with the new Prime Minister Liz Truss to slash energy bills by building more renewable energy projects faster, which means bringing in a planning system which reflects the widespread public support for these technologies, and setting ambitious targets for clean energy in each of their annual power auctions over the course of this decade. That will also help us to maximise jobs and attract billions in private investment.”
Sam Hall, Director of the Conservative Environment Network:
“This new polling shows that onshore renewables are popular not only with the public but even more so with Conservative voters. Renewables are popular and cheap, cut our reliance on imported fossil fuels, and support UK jobs.
“With new renewables nine times cheaper than gas power, the government should let the market deploy these technologies to ease the energy crisis. It should allow more solar farms to be built on unproductive land. It should also lift the de facto ban on onshore wind in England, provided that local communities consent in the same way that Liz Truss plans to do with fracking.”
Source: RenewableUK Article