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BBC survey highlights UK public support for wind and solar

70% of public want British energy system to be nationalised as confidence in suppliers collapses

(Pic: Steve p2008/Flickr)


The British public broadly supports investment in wind and solar energy systems, according to a survey commissioned by the BBC and published today.

Of 1035 adults interviewed, 84% were keen on more solar panels where they lived, 67% wanted more windfarms while 47% thought building more nuclear power stations was a good idea.

Support for shale gas exploration, or fracking, was significantly lower, coming in at 33%, a figure that rose to 47% if incentives to local communities were added. Those who claimed to know “a fair amount” about fracking were also more likely to support it than those who do not.

The survey is the latest to suggest there is significant backing for renewable energy in the UK. Last month YouGov reported nearly seven times more people would rather have a solar farm located near their homes than a fracking site.

BBC Radio 5 live commissioned ComRes to carry out a survey to understand attitudes to energy as part of the station’s Energy Day, which will be presented from a studio powered by renewable sources from 630am-7pm.

The UK government, energy companies and civil society are currently involved in a fierce debate over the future of the country’s energy system.

To meet its legally binding climate change targets the country has to cut its greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector, but it is currently unclear whether this will lead to more investment in wind, solar, marine, nuclear or gas.

Renewable sources provided 10.8% of the electricity generated in the UK in 2012, with wind generation rising 26% in the same year.

Generation gap

The BBC survey also highlights an intriguing difference in attitudes between age groups.

Those interviewed aged above 65 were the least likely to support renewable energy sources. Just over half (54%) of this sample supported the idea of more windfarms in their area compared to 82% of those aged 25-34.

55% say they would be willing to pay more for greener energy, while 61% believe the current UK government ‘is not green enough when it comes to energy policy’.

And in a sign of the lack of trust many consumers have in the UK’s major energy companies, 70% say they would like the industry to be re-nationalised, a sentiment Dale Vince, founder of Britain’s first green energy company Ecotricity told RTCC is understandable.

“The private sector bought Britain’s energy industry on the cheap after it had been built with public money, and for a couple of decades it’s worked OK – but now that most of the infrastructure needs rebuilding, the inability of private enterprise to economically deliver something of such fundamental importance – is becoming exposed.”

Vince added: “The fact 67% of people support having more wind farms in their area is not a surprise at all – every public survey for the past two decades has come back with the same result.”

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  • snowie

    How many of these so called supporters of wind turbines live within close proximity to turbines? How many are aware of the health issues involved by having wind turbines close to homes? How many are aware of the loss in property values associated by living near wind turbines? How many are aware of the true costs of wind power, and how land owners and people like Dale Vince make vast fortunes out of wind turbines?
    Wind power is a scam. No conventional power station will ever close no matter how many turbines are inflicted upon our county. They are not green, not clean and not cheap. If we got rid of them all tomorrow, it would not make one bit of difference to the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere. They are a con.

  • motorwaydrifter

    That should read “67% of people surveyed” It would be interesting to know what cross section of the population was actually asked the question, and how the question was phrased.

  • Aunty Fracker

    Isn’t it true though that people say this when they don’t live near a wind farm and there’s no threat of one being built, only to change their position when it becomes a reality that will affect THEM? There are lots of examples of communities across the UK rejecting wind developments on their doorstep, and growing signs that large-scale solar farms too (with plans thrown out very recently in Norfolk after a high profile campaign that included Gryfff Rhys-Jones)

  • debeouf

    Why don’t the politicians listen? Stupid question I know ? Perhaps powerful Nimby’s

  • debeouf

    oil,gas , coal, fracking versus renewable energy.Now let me see who has the more to loose.