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  • Overview
  • Nov '23
    Tracker data: The public and MPs overestimate opposition to local solar
  • Conservative Environment Network polling: Widespread support for local green energy development
  • Oct '23
    Comment: Net Zero in My Back Yard
  • Tracker data: Gap in perceived support for local wind and solar
  • Sep '23
    Labour Party confirms plans for GB Energy ahead of 2023 conference
  • Ipsos polling: Renewable energy infrastructure is a priority for Britons
  • Jul '23
    Onward report: Local benefits increase rural support for renewable energy projects
  • May '23
    YouGov tracker: Public consistently in favour of government subsidies for solar development
  • Apr '23
    More in Common: Britain’s ‘quiet majority’ want less talk and more action on green energy
  • Nov '22
    Ipsos MORI polling: Britons want subsidies on environmentally friendly tech (but few want higher taxes on non-renewable energy sources)
  • Oct '22
    YouGov tracker: Wind power continues to be the most popular form of energy generation
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    Climate Barometer Tracker 22nd November 2023

    Tracker data: The public and MPs overestimate opposition to local solar

    Across all regions of the UK, people’s support for the construction of a new solar park in their area is overwhelming high (typically over three quarters support), and opposition is low (10% or less). Yet both the public and MPs tend to underestimate support, and overestimate opposition. This figure shows three waves of Climate Barometer polling of the public, between October 2022 to October 2023.

    Despite the overwhelming support from the public for the construction of a new solar park in their area, when asked if “other people” would support the new development, even the public underestimates support – and overestimates opposition. While support has hovered around 80% in favour, much lower numbers (39-45%) believe that, in their area, others support, than oppose a new solar farm.

    Even so, the public’s guess is closer than MPs: only around 30% tend to believe that in their constituency, “more would support than oppose” a new solar farm.

    Wider research suggests that a ‘quiet majority’ effect may explain why people think there is more opposition than there really is to solar energy. In focus groups, More in Common found that many people expressed a reluctance to voice their (majority) support for green energy developments, for fear of seeming confrontational in the face of louder (but minority) opposition.

    Played out in community after community, this hesitation to articulate support for solar and other forms of green energy is likely to be creating a false sense of where public opinion really sits.

    Opinion Insight 7th November 2023

    Conservative Environment Network polling: Widespread support for local green energy development

    Polling by Public First for the Conservative Environment Network (CEN) was carried out in 19 Conservative-held seats in the summer of 2023. The seats were selected for their proximity to existing or proposed major renewable energy developments in the East of England and Oxfordshire.

    While the majority would like to see green energy development and new housing in their local area, around a third of both Labour and Conservative voters chose renewable development over the building of new homes.

    76% of those surveyed said the rollout of renewable energy so far had been too slow, and 45% would ‘actively support’ or ‘not mind’ a wind farm being built within sight of a window in their home.

    The results underscore a growing body of evidence which shows – in national level polling, focus groups and constituency level polling – consistent support for building renewables. They stand in contrast to the perception held by Conservative MPs, which significantly overestimates the level of opposition among their own voters and the population more widely.

    Read more about ‘perception gaps’ in our Climate Barometer topic thread.

    Climate Barometer Tracker 5th October 2023

    Tracker data: Gap in perceived support for local wind and solar

    Climate Barometer Tracker data across three waves shows consistent public support for local renewable projects. The  public are positive towards the prospect of new solar parks and onshore wind farms being built in their area, with greater than 70% support for both.

    However, people – and their MPs – underestimate the actual public support for both initiatives, and overestimate opposition to them. This shows that MPs continue to misperceive public opinion in relation to renewable energy projects, and illustrates the stickiness of ‘not in my backyard‘ assumptions despite evidence to the contrary.

    Policy Insight 28th September 2023

    Labour Party confirms plans for GB Energy ahead of 2023 conference

    The Labour Party has pledged to create Great British Energy, a new, publicly-owned clean energy company to make the UK ‘energy independent’ and deliver 100% clean energy by 2030.

    • Source: The Labour Party
    • Date: 28th September 2023
    Opinion Insight 25th September 2023

    Ipsos polling: Renewable energy infrastructure is a priority for Britons

    Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind are among the most popular forms of energy generation among Britons. Among energy sources, solar and wind are regarded as producing the lowest emissions, and having the greatest impact when it comes to tackling climate change.

    Ipsos polling shows that Britons feel split about the current quality of renewable energy infrastructure in the UK (solar/wind), with 48% rating it as very/fairly good, and 39% rating it as very/fairly poor. 

    The majority (70%) feel that infrastructure in Britain has not been adapted enough to cope with future changes in climate, and 65% of Britons feel that infrastructure isn’t being built quickly enough. Britons are also less resistant to increasing spending on infrastructure than citizens of other countries, even if it means higher taxes or more government borrowing. According to the public, solar energy infrastructure should be among the highest priorities for Britain’s investment (40%). 

    In fact, a separate poll by Ipsos shows that renewable energy features highly among the priorities for Britain, with wind and solar featuring as one of the top five “most in need of improvement” areas of Britain’s infrastructure, alongside roads, schools, hospitals, courthouses, as well as housing, and water supply/sewerage.

    Opinion Insight 4th July 2023

    Onward report: Local benefits increase rural support for renewable energy projects

    Chart shows four stacked bars. The vertical axis shows percentage of respondents who selected each response. The horizontal axis shows four bars: "Public, or overall responses", "Conservative" voters, "Labour" voters, and "Lib Dem" voters. It shows for each category, what percentage would support or oppose renewable energy projects depending on whether the projects financially contribute to their local area.

    A new report from the think tank Onward Power to the People argues that proposals for local renewable energy projects are much more likely to receive support if they provide community benefits to the local area.

    Of the rural voters surveyed for the report, 43% of rural voters would already support local renewable energy projects without any community benefit. But an additional 37% would support development if they came with community benefits.

    Opinion Insight 4th May 2023

    YouGov tracker: Public consistently in favour of government subsidies for solar development

    This YouGov tracker shows that support for government spending to develop solar power is consistently high (around 70-80%), and opposition is low (between 8-11%).

    It shows a line graph mapping responses to the question "should the government pay energy companies to help develop solar power". On the vertical axis is the percentage of support, and on the horizontal axis is time (from August 2019 to May 2023. There are three lines in the graph. The pink line represents "The government is right to spend money encouraging this form of energy", and sits consistently between 70-80% over the time period. The purple line "the government is wrong to spend money encouraging this form of energy" sits consistently between 0-15%. Don
    From the Climate Community 20th April 2023

    More in Common: Britain’s ‘quiet majority’ want less talk and more action on green energy

    The image of Britain “split down the middle” on issues of local renewable development projects is not, according to research by More in Common, an accurate depiction of public opinion.

    In focus groups with communities in two regions where green energy developments have been presented as contentious and controversial in local media, they report that:

    “Most Brits are balancers, tired of the loudest voices dominating debates, and eager for us just to get on with it quietly, less talk, less fuss and more action.”

    While renewable energy projects are often positioned as controversial, and do attract some loud minority opposition, these conversations suggested people were often not aware of planned developments, and were typically broadly supportive when offered the chance to reflect on them.

    • Source: More in Common
    • Author: Conleth Burns
    • Date: 20th April 2023
    Opinion Insight 3rd November 2022

    Ipsos MORI polling: Britons want subsidies on environmentally friendly tech (but few want higher taxes on non-renewable energy sources)

    In a poll of 34 countries, Britons are the most supportive of government subsidies for renewables, with 65% in favour. However, higher taxes on gas and oil were nowhere near as popular, likely reflecting ongoing concerns about the cost of living, and an illustration of the nuanced views that the public holds on phasing out oil and gas.

    Opinion Insight 15th October 2022

    YouGov tracker: Wind power continues to be the most popular form of energy generation

    It is a line graph, where the vertical axis is percentage of support for various forms of energy generation, and the horizontal axis represents time, from August 2019 to May 2023. Wind power is consistently the most supported energy source over this time period, with nuclear overtaking solar in second place in recent years. Gas and coal power are consistently low over time.

    YouGov’s biannual tracker of support for various forms of energy generation shows that wind and solar have had the highest support since 2019, with nuclear overtaking solar in recent years. Coal and gas receive consistently low support over time.

    Methodology Note: These percentages are lower than other surveys that measure support for different forms of energy generation individually. This survey requires that people choose one out of all options, rather than asking people outright whether they support any particular energy generation source.

    • Source: yougov.co.uk
    • Author: YouGov
    • Date: 1st August 2019

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