Majority of voters say Government should lift onshore wind ban - YouGov poll
16 July 2018
Posted by: Rob Norris
An opinion poll by YouGov shows two-thirds of people in Britain think the Government should change its current policy of excluding new onshore wind farms from our energy mix.
66% say they would support a change in Government policy so that onshore wind farms can be built in places where they have local backing, to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and tackle climate change. Support for the move is high among Conservative voters, 61% of whom say the exclusion of onshore wind should end - 65% of people in rural areas agree. Just 15% of people oppose the change.
There is strong local support for building onshore wind farms over other infrastructure options. When asked which type of development they would favour most in their local area, the most popular choice was an onshore wind farm (23% - and higher in rural areas at 26%), beating a new railway line (22%), housing development (17%), a dual carriageway (16%), a fracking site (4%) and a nuclear power station (2%).
The polls also show a high level of support among younger people for action on climate change; 60% of people aged under 40 said the Government is not doing enough on this issue. Among this group, 75% said Ministers should prioritise increasing investment in renewable energy to tackle the problem.
RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said: “The Government’s policy is massively out of step with public opinion, including the views of Conservative voters. Whether it’s the over-65s, people in rural communities or younger voters who want action on climate change, abandoning the onshore wind ban is popular across the board.
Onshore wind is the UK’s cheapest new power source, bar none, and excluding it from the market means we’ll have to rely on more expensive technologies to meet our future power needs. It’s difficult for voters to square why the Government is bringing in laws to cap energy bills on the one hand, while choosing to further push up costs for billpayers by blocking cheap, new wind power on the other”.
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RenewableUK is the trade and professional body for the wind, wave and tidal energy industries. Formed in 1978, and with more than 400 corporate members, RenewableUK is the country’s leading renewable energy trade association. We are celebrating our 40th anniversary this year.
The YouGov poll, which covers Great Britain, is available on request. It was commissioned by RenewableUK, and conducted on 5th-7th June 2018 among a sample of 3,609 adults. The results are weighted to provide a fully representative reporting sample of age, gender, political affiliation, social grade, region, urban and rural respondents. Full results available here.
Government statistics (BEIS Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker) show a record high of 76% of people support onshore wind (April 2018– wave 25). The level of public support for onshore wind has never fallen below 64% since the official poll began in 2012.
The Government procures new renewable energy capacity through competitive auctions for power contracts (Contracts for Difference). Since 2015, the Government has excluded onshore wind from these auctions.
The Government’s independent advisory body, the Committee on Climate Change, published its latest report “Reducing UK emissions: 2018 Progress Report to Parliament” in June 2018. It sets out 4 key messages to Government, the first being: “Support the simple, low-cost options”. The report states: “Low-cost, low-risk options to reduce emissions are not being supported by Government. This penalises the consumer. There is no route to market for cheap onshore wind”.
A new report by BVG Associates, “The Power of Onshore Wind” (June 2018) shows that awarding contracts for 5GW of new onshore wind power between 2019 and 2025 could deliver a net payback to UK consumers of £1.6 billion.