New research by Ipsos MORI for RenewableUK, the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries, has shown that two thirds (67%) of respondents are in favour of the use of wind power in the UK, with 28% ‘strongly in favour’. One in twelve (eight percent) are opposed – with only three percent suggesting that they are ‘strongly opposed’.
These figures also show that while there is a small but vocal anti-wind energy contingent, the majority of the public support the UK’s abundant wind resources.
Maria McCaffery, chief executive, RenewableUK, said of the findings, “It’s clear that the majority of those surveyed are supportive of energy from wind – strongly indicated from our survey results. Wind is an abundant, clean, secure and affordable energy source. It is therefore not only undemocratic to allow the vocal anti-wind minority to derail the UK’s plans for renewable energy, but also damaging to our economy, undermining investment and jobs that will help to rebuild communities across the country and put the UK on a path to future economic prosperity.”
In a further blow to anti-wind campaigners, who oppose wind energy on the basis of the visual impact of wind turbines on the landscape, the findings suggest that the majority find the look of wind farms to be acceptable.
Respondents were asked to rate the level of acceptability of the look of wind farms on the landscape on a ten point scale ranging from completely unacceptable (1) to completely acceptable (10). A majority (57%) give a score of between 7 and 10, at the acceptable end of the scale, with a fifth (20%) suggesting that the look of wind farms was completely acceptable. At the other end of the scale just one in six (17%) give scores of between 1 and 4. Two in ten (22%) are neutral (giving a score of 5 or 6) with four percent not knowing.
McCaffery continued, “That the majority of people find wind farms ugly has long been a myth propagated by a small minority. This research has shown that a majority find the look of wind farms acceptable. I hope that those who have recently tried to stifle the good support that wind energy has from government listen to this majority view and ask themselves why they are supporting a minority movement that threatens the jobs and investment that the wind energy industry is bringing to the UK.”
The wind energy industry in the UK recently announced the launch of a new three point Charter to clearly demonstrate the value of the wind energy industry to the UK economy and to the future security of our energy supplies. Since the launch of the Charter in March 2012, the founding 12 signatories have been joined by 58 other companies from the wind energy industry and the number is growing daily. The Charter, which has been supported by the secretary of state for climate change, Ed Davey, is based around the following three principles:
• To invest in the future prosperity and energy security of the UK
• To provide financial security for families by creating tens of thousands of long term jobs
• To provide clean, safe and affordable energy for the UK today and for future generations