According to a poll conducted by ComRes for environmental charity 10:10, public support for onshore wind farms is much higher than previously estimated.
The poll was conducted for 10:10’s “Blown Away” campaign, and its results will come as a bit of a blow to the Conservative government, who have substantially scaled back development of onshore wind turbines, in favour of other forms of power generation, including fracking, nuclear and offshore wind.
Until now, it seemed to have been generally understood that a large amount of opposition to onshore wind farms came from those who lived in rural areas, nearby sites where turbines would be installed. This latest poll shows that not to be the case.
According to the poll, “73% of the British public back onshore wind power”. 65% of people in rural areas back onshore wind, while 75% in urban areas do. A similar split was seen across different age groups, with 77% of 18-24 year olds backing the technology, and 66% of those over 65.
The gap between actual and perceived public opinion regarding onshore wind is highlighted by the fact that only just over 10% of those surveyed believed that more than 70% of the public support it, with people predicting an average of 42% in support. 10:10 said that similar results were seen when it came to solar power – “80% say they support solar farms, but only 11% of people think support is that high”.
Solar power got more overall support from the public, with 83% in favour of it and just 8% against it. Offshore wind fared similarly, with 80% in favour against just 10% who opposed it.
Onshore wind was one of the few technologies that had an even split of support between both genders, with 73% of each in favour of it. This compares to fracking, which 42% of men and 27% of women supported, and nuclear, which 61% of men and 33% of women supported.
Overall, nuclear was supported by 46% of those surveyed, and opposed by 37%, while fracking was backed by just 34%, and opposed by 45%. This, again, will be something of a blow to the government that had previously announced that it was going “all out for shale”, and recently overturned a local council decision to permit fracking at a site in Lancashire, as well as recently giving the official go ahead to the controversial Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.