By DARA BUTTERFIELD
Public support for onshore wind is on the up, according to the latest opinion survey published by the UK Department of Energy (DECC) – just days after residents of a Highland village held a public demonstration in support a new turbine farm in their community.
The DECC survey showed that 68% of the public now support onshore wind farms,while total opposition has fallen by 10%. The survey used face-to-face interviews with a representative sample of 2,119 households.
Dr Gordon Edge, Director of Policy, RenewableUK, said: “It’s great to see public support for onshore wind is increasing, with more than two-thirds of people consistently saying they want Britain to make use of it, and that support for offshore wind, wave & tidal energy remains even higher.
“That’s why it’s so hard to understand why the Conservative party is turning its back on onshore wind, threatening to kill off the industry if it wins the next election. Independent polls show that David Cameron is totally wrong to claim that people are “fed up” with onshore wind – they show the reverse is actually true, and that being anti-wind is a net vote loser.
“We hope that as manifestos are being written the Conservatives will see how misguided it would be to oppose such a popular technology as onshore wind”
The announcement of public support for Britain’s w-industry is backed up by a recent pro-wind demonstration in Sutherland for SSE’s Strathy South wind farm proposal.
SSE project manager Nicki Small said: “It was fantastic to see such visible local support for Strathy South at the pre-inquiry meeting.
“We are a responsible developer with an established Highland heritage and we have set out to design the wind farm to deliver positive environmental gain overall – that is, to both generate clean energy whilst restoring and positively managing thousands of hectares of damaged peatland.
“We also intend to create significant investment in the local and wider Highland economy, as is already happening through Strathy North wind farm.”
The DECC survey also revealed public support for wave and tidal power rose to 74%, while support for offshore wind remained at 74%.
Support for hydraulic fracturing, or ‘fracking’ for onshore shale gas fell from 26% to 24%.