Public support for onshore wind at record level – proving the Tories are out of touch

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RenewableUK says a new survey published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which shows that levels of public support for onshore and offshore wind energy are even higher than before, proves that the anti-wind Conservative party is out of touch.

Earlier this month, the Conservative Energy Minister Michael Fallon announced that his party would cease to support any further onshore wind projects – even though it’s the cheapest form of renewable energy the UK has and it’s a vital part of our electricity mix if we want to keep the lights on.

In the latest wave of DECC’s Public Attitudes Tracker, 70% of people said they support the development of onshore wind – the highest ever figure since DECC’s regular opinion polls began in March 2012. A record-breaking number also support offshore wind, at a new high of 77%. Wave and tidal energy also remains popular at 77%, matching its previous highest levels of support. In contrast, public support for shale gas stands at only 29%.

Onshore Wind

In addition, people strongly recognise the benefits of renewable energy and believe that the UK should accelerate investment in low-carbon technologies. 70% think renewables bring economic benefits to the UK, compared to 47% for nuclear. 80% are concerned about the UK becoming dependent on energy imports and 75% of people think we are not investing fast enough in alternative energy sources.

In the survey, people ranked energy security and climate change jointly as the fourth biggest challenge facing the UK today – only unemployment, inflation and the NHS scored higher in the list. Tellingly, those polled judged energy and climate change to be more important challenges than education, law and order, taxation, defence and national security.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said “This poll should serve as a clear wake-up call for the Conservatives. When they announced a moratorium on all future onshore wind projects last week, they seriously miscalculated the public’s mood, and they’ll pay heavily for that at the ballot box.

People want to see the UK developing its abundant renewable energy resources – including onshore and offshore wind. It seems that the only people the Tories are actually in touch with are Nigel Farage and his cabal of fossil fuel advocates.

The people have spoken – support for onshore wind is at a record high of 70% and energy security is more important to them than taxation, law and order, education and defence. The Conservatives should start to listen to the voice of the people rather than remaining in thrall to UKIP’s spin doctors, and realise that if we’re going to have secure, home-grown clean energy, onshore wind has an important part to play in that”.