The government is “massively out of step” with most of the public when it stands in the way of building more wind farms, according to new polling for RenewableUK.
In YouGov of 3,600 adults on 5-7 June, 66% said they would support a change in government policy so that onshore wind farms can be built in places where they have local backing. Support for the move is even high among Conservative voters, 61% of whom say the exclusion of onshore wind should end. In rural areas 65% of people in agree with the proposition. Just 15% of people oppose the change.
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%).
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”.
Matthew Clayton, managing director of Thrive Renewables, said: “If smart policy decisions are made today, we could easily see over 50% of our power being sourced from renewables very quickly. This is a significant and exciting opportunity to clean up our energy system, reduce air pollution, combat climate change and save consumers money.”