Nine out of 10 people want more renewables

By Business Green staff

Friends of the Earth survey latest to show public support for renewables as green group launches new Clean British Energy campaign By Business Green staff.

Almost nine in 10 people want to see the government ramp up the UK’s use of clean domestic energy and reduce the country’s reliance on imported gas, a new YouGov poll reveals.

Just under two-thirds of the 2,884 people questioned on behalf of campaign group Friends of the Earth listed wind, wave, solar, or tidal as power sources they wanted to see playing a greater role in the UK’s electricity mix over the next decade, while just two per cent backed an increase in gas capacity.

The survey is the latest to signal strong public backing for renewable energy, following Sunday’s YouGov poll for Scottish Renewables that found 71 per cent of Scots supported wind power, and a separate Ipsos MORI survey last week that reported 67 per cent of respondents were in favour of using more wind power.

Currently, only 9.5 per cent of UK electricity comes from renewable energy sources and Friends of the Earth is concerned the government is encouraging a new “dash for gas” by exempting gas-fired power plants from emissions restructions that will effectively ban new coal power stations.

The wind energy sector is also facing an increasingly vocal campaign against new wind farms, while concerns are mounting that renewable energy investments are being put on hold as a result of investor concerns over the degree of political backing for clean energy.

Today Friends of the Earth is using St George’s Day to launch a new Clean British Energy campaign that calls on the Prime Minister to use his speech at the Clean Energy Ministerial on Thursday to demonstrate his backing for low carbon energy.

The group claims increasing the UK’s reliance on domestic renewable sources would not only help decarbonise the energy sector, but would also enhance energy security and create new green jobs. Government figures show just under £4bn of investment in renewables over the last year yielded nearly 14,000 new jobs.

“The public has given a clear vote of confidence to clean British energy from our wind, sun and sea – it makes no sense for the government to pursue an unwanted, costly dash for gas that’s causing our fuel bills to rocket,” said Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth’s director of policy and campaigns.

“Ministers have a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our electricity market to help smaller businesses, schools and communities plug into clean and affordable power.

“David Cameron must back Britain by using his speech to kick-start a switch to clean British energy – it’s time to wave goodbye to costly fossil fuels and develop affordable power for the future.”

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