Embrace is now launching a pledge and encouraging its supporters to get their parliamentary candidates to sign up.
· Research shows 55% of parliamentary election candidates support expansion of onshore wind
· Supporters of renewables ask candidates to sign the ‘WIMBY pledge’
· 85% of candidates say investment in grid and renewable generation is ‘top priority’
· Strong support for 15% EU renewable energy target
A poll of 101 prospective parliamentary candidates (PPCs), carried out by polling company ComRes on behalf of RenewableUK, has been put forward by campaigning group Embrace as evidence that PPCs should be more vocal in their support of renewables, in line with public opinion. Embrace is now launching a pledge and encouraging its supporters to get their parliamentary candidates to sign up.
Four questions were posed, examining the need for more onshore wind, investment in the electricity grid and renewables, the EU 15% target for renewables by 2020 and action on planning. The results show that just over half of the PPCs ‘agree strongly’ that ‘expansion of onshore wind is essential if the UK is to deliver on its renewable energy targets’. The relatively low figure is mainly due to only 7% of Conservative candidates supporting the statement, compared to 44% of Labour and 71% of Liberal Democrat PPCs. Conservative candidates also make up the only segment that strongly disagrees with the expansion of onshore wind.
Further results show that 83% support the aim of securing 15% of the country’s energy from renewables by 2020, in line with European Union targets, and that 85% of the PPCs also agree that ‘investment in new electricity grid infrastructure, renewable generation (including wind farms) and other forms of generating capacity is a top priority over the next 20 years’.
Conservative candidates, however, are least likely to agree with these two statements, with Liberal Democrats most enthusiastic about investment (100% agreeing strongly). Finally, Labour PPCs are most keen to ‘ensure large energy infrastructure projects progress quickly through the planning system’ (83% agreeing or agreeing strongly).
Adam Bell, Embrace Campaign Coordinator at RenewableUK said:
“This poll suggests that there is a certain amount of disconnect between the voters and political candidates. Year after year, independent polls suggest that over 80% of the people in this country support further deployment of wind energy. Politicians need to be told that NIMBYs don’t represent how British people actually think.”
Bell announced the launch of the ‘I am a WIMBY’ campaign:
“Hundreds of supporters of the renewable energy campaign Embrace will be writing to parliamentary candidates in their constituencies, asking them to sign the WIMBY (Wind In My Back Yard) pledge and state that they’d be happy to have a wind farm built near where they live. Efforts of Embrace’s supporters today are crucial to our future energy supply – many of the candidates we’re asking to become WIMBYs will form our next parliament.”