Public support for onshore wind is at odds with the UK government’s new nuclear policy. An Opinium poll for the Observer carried out following the government’s Energy Security Strategy, published last Thursday, has as many as three quarters of those surveyed supporting onshore wind power. In contrast to the promotion of nuclear power as the first option by the government.
In a telling result, which illustrates the public’s preparedness to see onshore wind farms built as a response to the rise in energy bills and the tightening of the climate crisis, the survey found that even amongst Tory voters the government’s nuclear-first energy policy was unpopular. ‘The new poll indicates Tory voters’ (79%) backing for wind turbines almost matches that of Labour (83%) and Lib Dem (88%) supporters – suggesting the move against onshore wind, a result of backbench Tory pressure, runs counter to the views of the party’s own voters’ the Guardian reported.
In contrast, other technologies were significantly less popular, with the poll showing that ‘only 45% of all voters favoured new nuclear power stations in principle, while a mere 32% favoured gas power plants. Less than a third of voters would be happy with a nuclear station being built near them, while a less than a quarter would approve of having a gas power station in their neighbourhood’.
Regardless of public support, further questions have also been raised about both the financing and safety of new nuclear power plants. ‘A former Tory energy minister Charles Hendry – who now advises the energy industry – doubted whether the funding model for building new plants would attract enough private sector interest’ – the government’s preferred model.
Scientists have also highlighted again the issue of nuclear waste disposal, given that the ‘UK has still not selected a site to build an underground store for the spent fuel rods and radioactive cladding it has accumulated over the past seven decades of operating nuclear power plants…with most waste still being stored above ground at Sellafield, Cumbria’, the Guardian further reported.
Three quarters of Britons back expansion of wind power, poll reveals: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/apr/10/three-quarters-of-britons-back-expansion-of-wind-power-poll-reveals?CMP=Share_AndroidApp_Other