A series of surveys published over the course of this week has revealed that the UK public’s support of renewable energy has increased despite the concerted efforts of some elements of the media.
Firstly the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published the latest in its series of Public Attitudes Tracking Surveys, these have been produced since March 2012 and this is the fifth edition. The survey polled over 2000 members of the public and revealed that support for renewable energy is the highest it has been since the surveys were first assembled – 82% of those polled are in favour of renewable energy, an increase of 3% since January 2013. Onshore wind, which has been the primary focus of several negative newspaper campaigns, also saw an increase of support. 64% of those polled in January 2013 were in favour of more onshore wind developments; in March 2013 68% of those polled were in favour. Furthermore the polled level of opposition to further onshore wind developments saw a decrease of 2%, from 13% of those polled in January 2013 to 11% of those polled in March 2013.
A spokesman for DECC was quoted as remarking:
“It suggests the media is really out of kilter with what’s happening in the country.
“Today’s figures are indicative of the long term support for renewables among the British public. This support comes from people’s experience on the ground as developers engage with communities and projects are delivered across the UK.”
Secondly, a poll produced by ComRes for RenewableUK has revealed the influence a politicians stance on wind power has on voters. 76% of those polled were either in favour of or neutral to wind power. 34% indicated that they would be more likely to support a pro-wind politician.
The poll also asked questions about the 2015 General Election. 31% revealed they would be less likely to support a political party due to an anti-wind power stance compared to only 27% who would be more likely to support such a political party. Female voters were revealed to be particularly supportive of wind power with nearly one in three stating they would be less willing to vote for a party which intended to remove support for onshore wind.
Maria McCaffrey, Chief Executive at RenewableUK commented:
“The countdown to the next national election is on, and these results show that those politicians who attack wind farms risk alienating important parts of the electorate – the very people who could decide the next election. We continually see high approval ratings for wind energy, and it’s clear that as voters go to the ballot box they keep that favourability towards wind. For the energy sector to secure the investment needed and to create tens of thousands of jobs over the next decade it’s vital that we see strong political leadership. Today’s results should encourage politicians to do just that.”
The results of these surveys suggest that despite the best efforts of some elements of the media they are failing to influence public opinion. Public support for renewable energy and specifically wind energy is increasing.