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CLIMATE ACTION PROGRAMME

1 February 2018

Renewable energy remains as popular as ever in new UK poll

The latest poll from the UK government into the public’s views on energy has shown renewables outperform all other technologies.

The new ‘Public Attitudes Tracker’ was released today by the UK’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy department. It details the views of a representative sample of over 2,000 members of the public on a wide range of issues, such as climate change, electric vehicles and different types of energy generation.

It found that 79 percent of people support renewable energy, while only four percent were in opposition. This is a finding consistent across six years of the quarterly survey, which has also found the public most keen on solar, offshore wind and marine power.

By contrast, support for nuclear power was at 35 percent and a low of 16 percent for extracting shale gas, or fracking; 32 percent opposed. The technology has long been championed by the Conservative government with former Prime Minister David Cameron once stating that “We’re going all out for shale”. However, the industrial process has been met with fierce resistance and opposition from local campaigners and councils.

Previous Government surveys have also shown mixed results on certain parts of the low-carbon economy. For example, the same poll last year found only one percent of respondents had bought an electric car and a full 50 percent had said they hadn’t given it any thought.

In addition, 71 percent of the public felt concerned about climate change, but only 42 percent felt human beings were largely, if not entirely, responsible for it.

It remains to be seen whether the survey plays into policymaking at the government level. Onshore wind, for example, has shown consistent popularity in the high 60s and 70s; nevertheless, the government has imposed a de facto ban on the technology in England and Wales.

 

Image Credit: Jason Blackeye

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