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by Liam Kirkaldy
16 July 2018
Two thirds of voters back new onshore wind development, finds YouGov

Wind turbine - image credit: RES

Two thirds of voters back new onshore wind development, finds YouGov

Two thirds of people think the UK Government should change its energy policy to stop excluding new onshore wind development, according to a new poll.

The YouGov survey shows that 66 per cent of respondents support a change in policy so that onshore wind farms can be built in places where they have local backing, to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and tackle climate change.

A majority of Conservative voters would also support the move, with 61 per cent saying the exclusion of onshore wind should end, and with 65 per cent of people in rural areas supportive of new developments.

YouGov found 15 per cent of people would oppose the change.

The UK Government faced criticism from opposition parties and energy campaigners after it cut support for onshore wind in 2015, while changing rules so new developments were only allowed to proceed in areas designated suitable by local authorities.

Fabrice Leveque, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: “Onshore wind is cheap, popular, and a vital tool in both meeting our climate change targets and delivering jobs and investment across Scotland.

“The results of this new polling show clearly that the UK Government's exclusion of most onshore wind projects from the energy market flies in the face of public opinion.

“While projects on Scotland's islands can now compete alongside other sources of clean electricity we would urge ministers to lift the ban on mainland onshore wind projects and allow this technology to do more of what it's already doing: delivering clean electricity, jobs, investment and social benefits for rural Scotland.”

When asked what kind of new development they would be most supportive of locally, 23 per cent chose onshore wind, followed by a new railway line, with 22 per cent in support, a housing development, with 17 per cent support, or a new dual carriageway, which had 16 per cent support.

Overall the least popular new developments were a fracking site, which at four per cent support, and a nuclear power station, with two per net backing.

Among people under 40, 60 per cent said the UK Government was not doing enough to combat climate change, with 75 per cent agreeing that ministers should respond by prioritising increased investment in renewable energy.

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