Tory government faces pressure over onshore wind farms after new poll

THE UK government is under increasing pressure to include onshore wind farms in its evolving energy strategy.

It comes after a new poll – including 69% of those who identified themselves as being traditionally Conservative voters – said they supported their building to pull away from reliance on dirty fuels.

However current government policy doesn’t support their introduction to the national grid – despite its claim to be pushing a green energy agenda. 

The poll, of 3600 adults across the UK, not only showed overwhelming backing for their use, but higher still in those adults aged under 40.

Fabrice Leveque, Senior Policy Manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Onshore wind is cheap, popular, and a vital tool in both meeting our climate change targets and delivering jobs and investment across Scotland.

“The results of this new polling show clearly that the UK Government’s exclusion of most onshore wind projects from the energy market flies in the face of public opinion.

“While projects on Scotland’s islands can now compete alongside other sources of clean electricity we would urge ministers to lift the ban on mainland onshore wind projects and allow this technology to do more of what it’s already doing: delivering clean electricity, jobs, investment and social benefits for rural Scotland.”

The opinion poll by YouGov showed taht two-thirds of people i think the Government should change its current policy of excluding new onshore wind farms.

A significant 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.

It showed 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.

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”.

WANT TO LEARN MORE? Read: YouGov / UK Renewables Survey results 

IMAGE CREDITS: cc Jakubeker

 

Shaun Milne is a Scottish based journalist with a particular interest in environmental issues, politics and travel.

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