Polls indicate UK public support for solar and climate action

Solar farms were chosen by 40% of respondents as the most popular to live near compared to 6% for fracking sites

Respondents said solar farms should not upset the local ecosystem. (Pic: Lightsource Renewables)

By Nilima Choudhury

A UK poll has shown nearly seven times more people would rather have a solar farm located near their homes than a fracking site.

The survey conducted by YouGov and commissioned by the Solar Trade Association used a sample of 2,068 UK residents to take part between 9th and 12th August.

Respondents were asked to choose one local energy development that could be constructed near them. By far the most popular choice was a solar farm at 40%.

Regardless of factors like gender or age, 25% chose a wind farm, 10% a nuclear power plant and just 6% shale gas fracking and boreholes.

Only 5% of people said they oppose all solar farms when good quality solar farms were described.

An STA spokesperson told RTCC: “Public opinion on renewables is consistently favourable, especially solar, which always receives support levels of 70-85%.

“What this new poll shows is that despite a degree of media and political pushback on solar farms, they are actually the preferred choice for a local power plant compared to the other options in the survey.”

Over 50% of respondents said they were in support of solar farms where they worked with the local ecosystem and did not interfere with agriculture.

Climate awareness

Separately, polling for the Carbon Brief website revealed that 93% of respondents believe climate change is happening, with 53% attributing it to human causes.

76% of all respondents agree the UK “needs to work with other countries to reach international agreements to cut emissions that cause climate change”.

The public does appear out of step with policymakers and scientists on one subject – temperature rises.

Polling results show the public puts the threshold for ‘dangerous’ climate change at eight degrees. That’s six degrees higher than the 2 degrees limit agreed by governments.

The polls come at a time when the UK is increasingly split between those who want to see more exploration for shale gas, or fracking, and opponents who want the government to invest in clean energy.

Hundreds of people across the UK attended demonstrations last weekend protesting against the government’s plans to back fracking.

As RTCC reported in our live blog on Monday, this culminated in the arrest of Green Party MP Caroline Lucas on Monday at the Cuadrilla site in Balcombe.

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