A YouGov survey has shown there is overwhelming public support for clean energy investment compared to the other measures outlined in the government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution

Wind turbine

The YouGov poll revealed that five times as many people supported the prioritisation of renewable energy as their top choice over any other green industry (Credit: Wikimedia Commons/Tom Corser)

The UK public wants renewables to be prioritised as part of the government’s green growth spending plans, a poll has found.

The YouGov survey, which was commissioned by trade body RenewableUK, shows overwhelming public support for clean energy investment compared to the other measures outlined in the government’s 10-point plan for a green industrial revolution.

When Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the plan in November, he set out 10 key areas to focus on, including advancing offshore wind, driving the growth of low-carbon hydrogen, delivering new nuclear power, accelerating the shift to zero-emission vehicles, green public transport, cycling and walking, “jet zero” for green aviation and green ships, greener buildings, investing in carbon capture and storage, protecting the environment, and green finance.

The YouGov poll asked a weighted sample of 1,700 people to rank the measures into their top five areas that they believed the government should be investing in. Five times as many people supported the prioritisation of renewable energy as their top choice over any other green industry.

“It’s great to see overwhelming public support for the government prioritising investment in renewable energy,” said RenewableUK’s deputy CEO Melanie Onn. “This will, in turn, attract billions in private investment as well as creating thousands of high-quality green jobs.”

 

Renewables proving popular amongst UK public, with onshore wind support remaining high

The poll showed that support is particularly strong between people over the age of 65, with 75% of the participants in that age category selecting renewable energy as one of their top three priorities for government investment.

It also revealed that support for prioritising clean energy is even greater amongst people that live within five miles of a wind farm (49%) compared to those that do not (46%).

Public backing for building onshore wind farms remains overwhelming high at 70%, with levels of support exactly the same amongst people that live within five miles of a wind farm as those living elsewhere.

UK public renewables
The YouGov poll shows overwhelming public support for renewable energy investment compared to the other areas outlined for green growth (Credit: YouGov)

The survey showed that 33% of people have a more positive opinion of onshore wind than they did five years ago.

In terms of political party allegiance, this is stronger amongst Conservative voters, with 36% feeling more positive. As for the feeling within different age groups, 37% of people over 65 feel more favourable now towards onshore wind farms, alongside 36% of 18 to 24-year-olds, and 40% of those that live within five miles of a wind farm.

“You can see the popularity of renewables reflected in attitudes to onshore wind,” said Onn. “The popularity of this technology is sky-high, with a third of the country saying they like onshore wind more than they did five years ago.”

Onn has urged ministers to “recognise this wave of public support for renewables” by maximising investment in the UK’s “shovel-ready” clean energy projects in the next round of CfD (Contracts for Difference) auctions – the government’s main mechanism for supporting low-carbon electricity generation.

She also called upon policymakers to set “ambitious long-term targets” for onshore wind, floating wind, renewable hydrogen and marine energy.

“Committing to clear milestones on the route to net zero is the best way to show global leadership on climate change in the run-up to the COP26 summit that the UK is hosting this year, as well as assuring our supply chain in the UK is the right place to invest,” added Onn.