New research shows public support for onshore wind

Polling highlights widespread support for onshore wind among the public, including Conservative voters.

A new poll has found widespread support for onshore wind among the public, including Conservative voters, and that people have become more supportive of proposals for onshore wind projects in their local area over the last six months.

The new research from Copper Consultancy, unveiled as the prime minister looks to unveil the UK’s new energy security strategy, shows that over 78% of the public believes the country needs to become more self-sufficient in generating its own energy. 

And, as well as expressing support for addressing problems with energy supply security, most people surveyed said they want to see a range of renewable technologies prioritised for development.

Contrary to current political thinking, onshore wind is among the three most popular energy sources – 38% of people would like to see it prioritised for development in the UK. This support rises to 40% among Conservative voters. 37% of this group also said they would be most comfortable with having an onshore wind project proposed near them, as opposed to 34% of the general public.

The research also shows that 52% of Conservative supporters have become more likely to back proposed energy projects in their local area over the last six months, while only 3% are now less likely to support them.

These findings suggest the government is unlikely to get the level of pushback that some ministers and MPs expect.

The nationally representative polling has shown that this recent increase in support for onshore wind holds for the general public too. As 45% have become more supportive of energy projects, a mere 6% are now less likely to back them.

This research also revealed that public opinion on the remainder of the government’s energy priorities is in line with current political rhetoric. 45% believe offshore wind should be prioritised, 37% support the expansion of large scale solar, and 24% back nuclear energy.

The energy and cost of living crises have inspired a radical policy rethink, say the pollsters, and industries previously considered taboo, such as fracking, are apparently back on the table. As evidence of support for onshore wind mounts, the pollsters claim we may well see another change of heart from number 10.

Sam Cranston, energy director at Copper Consultancy, said: “Our research challenges current thinking, showing clear continued public support for the UK’s transition to renewables. Consumers and voters want the government to act now, to reduce bills and deliver energy supply security. Such public backing should boost confidence in, and throughout, the sector, as developers continue their sustained drive to help the UK achieve its net zero ambitions by 2050.”

The polling was conducted by Censuswide with 2,004 nationally representative people between 25 and 28 March 2021. 570 respondents said they voted for the Conservatives in the 2019 election.

Click here to read Copper Consultancy’s Public attitudes to net zero and infrastructure report.

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