Politicians opposing wind energy 'huge turn-off' for voters

Political parties that oppose onshore wind development are likely to lose twice as many votes as they gain, according to a nationwide opinion poll.

45% of UK independent renewable energy now comes from onshore windfarms

45% of UK independent renewable energy now comes from onshore windfarms

The research, commissioned by RenewableUK, discovered that MPS from the 40 most marginal Lab-Con constituencies will lose up to more times more voters than they attract if they oppose the deployment of further onshore wind schemes in the next General Election.

The findings effectively turn the orthodoxy that Tory voters are anti-wind and must therefore appeal to UKIP's anti-wind prospectus on its head.

"This poll shows that anti-onshore wind policy is a clear vote-loser, with Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem voters turned off by anti-onshore rhetoric," said RenewableUK's chief executive Maria McCaffery.

"Those who espouse anti-wind views should pay particular attention to results in the marginal seats which will determine the next election. The public understands that we need more onshore wind.

"Onshore wind is the cheapest form of low-carbon technology, and provided enough power for 3.8 million households last year. Voters understand it's wrong to rule out further onshore wind and will not back candidates who try to. This sends a clear message to politicians to back this technology and the 19,000 people who work in the industry."

Winning votes

The independent research, carried out by ComRes, interviewed 2,065 UK adults last month. The opinion poll revealed: -

30% of Britons would be less likely to vote for a party that proposed to halt the deployment of further onshore wind schemes, with only 15% being more likely to.

Supporters of Conservative, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are all turned off by an anti-onshore wind attitude: voters of all three parties would be less likely to vote for a party which was anti-onshore wind than would be more likely.

In the 40 most marginal Conservative/Labour constituencies, nearly four times as many people would be turned off by an anti-onshore wind party, with 39% saying they would be less likely to vote for a national party which blocked further development, and just 10% being more likely to.

Key investment

Earlier this month, edie reported that the number of renewable energy projects in the UK (including onshore wind schemes) has soared by 40% with almost £300m invested in commercial-scale, independent schemes last year.

Figures compiled by SmartestEnergy for this year's Energy Entrepreneurs Report show that there are now 2,930 renewable energy projects of over 50kW capacity now in operation, independent of the Big Six energy firms.

Onshore wind represented the largest share of energy generation with 45%, while the UK's independent solar capacity was shown to have grown by a massive 150%.

Luke Nicholls
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