East Anglia: Voter poll’s backing for wind and tidal power ‘good news’ for region

wind turbines generating electricity

wind turbines generating electricity - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A poll which has found most voters wanted Government to give cash support to wind and tidal power is “good news for our region”, East Anglian energy leaders have said.

A new YouGov poll shows strong backing for financial support for wind and tidal power, with a majority of each of Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP voters saying that the Government should continue incentivising the technologies.

The report follows a series of similar polls, including a recent study which found people were prepared to pay more for renewable energy, and a study by Lord Ashcroft showing very little support for upcoming Private Member’s Bills trying to block wind development.

Simon Gray, chief executive of the East of England Energy Group (EEEGR), welcomed the study, pointing out that the East of England was strategically important to the whole country, with offshore wind, gas and nuclear power helping to keep the lights on.

“This survey is very good news for our region,” he said.

“Such clear and widespread public support for renewable energy projects like the huge wind farms which are to be built off the Suffolk and Norfolk coast shows that the message is getting home to people that renewable energy is absolutely vital to us.”

“The news of the survey comes hard on the heels of the publication this month of the Government’s Offshore Wind Industrial Strategy, which supports the energy sector in delivering its economic potential through innovation, investment and economic growth in the UK supply chain. Public support should encourage the Government to give maximum backing to renewable energy developments.”

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James Gray, Inward Investment Director for the East of England Energy Zone (EEEZ), said the YouGov poll backed up the anecdotal evidence his organisation had been gathering for some time, which showed that people recognise the UK desperately needs a secure energy supply.

“Renewable energy has a massive part to play in providing that, but it requires huge private sector investment and fully committed support from the Government to ensure that local people and companies benefit from the projects on their doorstep,” he said. “Renewable energy, and in particular offshore wind, represents a massive opportunity for coastal communities like Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth and it’s extremely encouraging to hear that people of all political persuasions are so firmly behind the sector.”

Overall, 65% of people believe that the Government is right to spend money encouraging wind energy technology, with 76% agreeing for tidal power, the poll found.

Comparative figures for other technologies are 40% support for incentivisation for shale gas, 57% for shale gas, and 79% for solar. Support is consistent across the political spectrum with the strongest support from Liberal Democrat voters at 79% for wind and 91% for tidal. 51% of UKIP voters call for financial support for wind and 76% for tidal power.