A poll of 101 PPCs, carried out by polling company ComRes on behalf of RenewableUK, has been put forward by campaigning group Embrace as evidence that PPCs should be more vocal in their support of renewable energy, in line with public opinion. Embrace is now launching a pledge and encouraging its supporters to get their parliamentary candidates to sign up.
Four questions were posed, examining the need for more onshore wind, investment in the electricity grid and renewable energy, the EU 15% target for renewable energy by 2020 and action on planning.
The results show that just over half of the PPCs ‘agree strongly’ that ‘expansion of onshore wind is essential if the UK is to deliver on its renewable energy targets’. The relatively low figure is mainly due to only 7% of Conservative candidates supporting the statement, compared to 44% of Labour and 71% of Liberal Democrat PPCs.
Conservative candidates also make up the only segment that strongly disagrees with the expansion of onshore wind.
Further results show that 83% support the aim of securing 15% of the country’s energy from renewable sources by 2020, in line with EUtargets, and that 85% of the PPCs also agree that ‘investment in new electricity grid infrastructure, renewable generation (including wind farms) and other forms of generating capacity is a top priority over the next 20 years’.
Conservative candidates, however, are least likely to agree with these two statements, with Liberal Democrats most enthusiastic about investment (100% agreeing strongly). Finally, Labour PPCs are most keen to ‘ensure large energy infrastructure projects progress quickly through the planning system’ (83% agreeing or agreeing strongly).
Adam Bell, Embrace Campaign Coordinator at RenewableUK says: "This poll suggests that there is a certain amount of disconnect between the voters and political candidates. Year after year, independent polls suggest that over 80% of the people in this country support further deployment of wind energy. Politicians need to be told that NIMBYs don’t represent how British people actually think.”
NB: Renewable Energy Focus notes it is not clear how many candidates come from which party.