Renewables twice as popular as nuclear according to new survey


  By Martin Kelly
Support for renewable energy across the UK is almost twice that of nuclear power, a new survey has revealed.
According to a study carried out by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), a whopping 80% of people across the UK have said they supported the use of renewable energy to provide electricity against only 42% who said they back nuclear.

According to the study, which surveyed 2040 people between March 26th and March 30th, more people back renewables than support nuclear and fracking combined.  The figures are contained in the newly published DECC Public Attitudes Tracker survey, and also reveal only 29% of those asked said they backed the use of fracking.

The study also showed widespread support across the rebewables sector:

  • Wave and tidal was backed by 77% of people
  • Solar was backed by 85% of people
  • Onshore wind was backed by 70% of people
  • Offshore wind was backed by 77% of people
  • Biomass was backed by 63% of people

On Carbon Capture, 57% expressed support with only 8% against.  However a huge 60% of those surveyed said they had never heard of the technology.

On the issue of climate change, over two thirds (68%) said they were concerned with over 80% saying they believed it was in part caused by humans – 35% believed human activity was either mostly or exclusively the cause.

Nuclear was backed by less than half of those surveyed, with only 42% saying they backed the controversial plants against 20% who opposed nuclear.  Of those asked, 33% said the benefits of nuclear outweighed the risks with 28% expressing an opposite view.

On the issue of reliability of power supply over the next ten to twenty years, 61% thought power cuts would be more frequent, 80% were concerned about becoming too dependant on other countries for energy and exactly three quarters of those asked said the UK was not investing enough in alternative sources of energy.

The survey was welcomed by, Friends of the Earth’s Head of Campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, who said:

“With a whopping 80% of the public consistently backing renewable power, and lots of projects now taking off, it’s extraordinary that some ministers are lagging so far behind the popular mood and failing to support the UK’s vast clean energy potential.

“It’s little surprise that shale gas is supported by less than three in ten people.  Over-hyped fracking poses a significant threat to local communities across the UK, will do little to tackle climate change and experts warn that it won’t lead to cheaper fuel bills.

“If we want to cut emissions, strengthen our energy security and provide people with affordable power in the future, we must invest in efficiency and renewable power.”

Newsnet Scotland contacted DECC requesting the Scottish breakdown of the survey, but were told that this was not available.