Older people blocking wind power for future generations

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Young people are being urged to join the debate on renewable energy after new findings showed older generations are blocking the building of wind farms.

– 75 per cent of people would support having a wind farm built near their home

– Only one third of wind farm applications are approved by councils

– Older generations are far more likely to oppose developments than young people

Following news that councils are rejecting two thirds of wind farms applications, independent research has highlighted a huge divide in opinions between old and young on the developments – with concerns over spoiled views so far winning over planning committees rather than protecting the environment for future generations.

More than 75 per cent of people polled said they would be in favour of plans to build a wind farm producing green energy close to where they live, with 86 per cent of 16 to 34 year olds surveyed saying they would back the proposals. Nobody under the age of 24 said they would oppose a wind farm in their area.

However, only one third of wind farm planning applications are actually getting approved.

The research showed that just 61 per cent of over 55s were in favour of building a wind farm near their home. Twice as many retired people opposed wind farms than those who are working.

Spoilt views and increases in noise were the main concerns of those who said they oppose wind farms.

Those in favour said protecting the environment for children, and renewable energy being the only way forward were the main reasons for supporting developments.

Manchester-based public consultation firm IPB Communications –which commissioned the research – presented its findings at the 2010 Renewable UK Conference in Glasgow.

John Quinton-Barber from IPB Communications and speaking at the conference said: “Younger people are clearly in favour of building wind farms for green energy – but they are not getting their message across.

“It is these generations, and their children, who are going to have to live with the long-term consequences of climate changes, so it is vital they stand up and have their say now.

“At the moment the statistics don’t add up. The opinions of older people seem to be taking priority when it comes to decision making. The silent majority need to find their voice and take their views to councillors when it comes to renewable energy.”

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