More than three-quarters of people think the UK Government should use new wind and solar farms to reduce energy bills and tackle the cost of living crisis, a poll has shown.
Some 77% of the 6,114 people polled by Survation for industry body RenewableUK thought that wind and solar farms – which generate electricity much more cheaply than currently high-priced gas – should be used as energy bills continue to surge.
The figure included 82% of Brits who are planning to vote Conservative in the next election, and 84% who voted for the party in 2019, despite opposition to solar farms from the new Prime Minister Liz Truss.
The high level of support was also highlighted as 76% of those asked said that they would back the building of a renewable energy project in their local area, including 81% of Tory voters.
The research also revealed that almost two thirds of Conservative supporters think that the UK Government should end the block on onshore wind development where there is local backing for projects.
Fracking for gas – for which Truss has said she would give the go-ahead where it had community support – was much less popular, with just 34% supporting it overall, and 51% of Tories in favour.
Getting energy from gas extracted from the North Sea was supported by 56% of those who participated in the poll, including 73% of those who voted Conservative in the last general election.
And 68% of the public want the Government to increase or maintain investment in renewables, compared with just 14% who want to see it reduced.
Some 40% said they would be less favourable to the new Tory leader if they weakened climate change policies, well outstripping the 16% who said they would be more favourable.
RenewableUK’s chief executive Dan McGrail said: “These findings are wake-up call to every politician, including the new Prime Minister, that the overwhelming majority of people want to see new investment in renewables and are happy to see new wind and solar farms built in their local area to drive energy bills down.
“At a time when we need to shift from expensive gas to low-cost renewables as rapidly as possible, most people agree that if local communities support having a wind farm nearby, the Government shouldn’t stand in their way.”
Claire Mack, the CEO of Scottish Renewables added: “We welcome this polling data that confirms the vast majority of people in the UK agree that wind and solar farms must play a key role in the shift from expensive gas to low-cost renewable solutions.
“Scotland’s renewable energy industry is worth £5.6bn a year in GVA to Scotland, as well as employing more than 22,000 people. Building more renewable energy projects will not only tackle the cost of energy crisis we currently face but will secure economic success, create new green jobs, continue to cut the carbon emissions which cause climate change and underpin a Scottish green recovery in the long-term.”