A total of 52% of Conservative voters think that the UK government should encourage or allow (without encouraging) the construction of more onshore wind farms, a recent poll has shown.
By comparison, the percentage of Tory voters feeling that onshore wind farms should be banned is 18%.
The YouGov survey for The Sunday Times found that 61% of respondents as a whole support more onshore wind construction, while 14% favour a ban. The poll, which questioned 1,567 people on May 14 and May 15, further revealed that 73% support the building of more offshore wind farms.
Trade body RenewableUK also highlighted the finding that 43% of people think that the UK should not start extracting shale gas, with 32% of the opinion it should.
The survey comes soon after the new energy secretary, Amber Rudd, said in an interview with The Sunday Times that her team was working on a legislation that would enable local residents to block onshore wind farms. There will soon be no subsidies for new onshore wind turbines, too. The plans seem to deliver on the Conservatives' pre-election manifesto. Rudd, at the same time, was cited as saying that the government would seek to accelerate shale gas extraction.
"Recent comments suggest that the Government is looking to restrict onshore wind as it's concerned about the technology's popularity," said RenewableUK chief executive Maria McCaffery, adding that this poll and previous surveys show that the majority of people back more onshore wind. She also said that early curtailment would in fact contravene the government's commitment for decarbonisation at the lowest cost.
"This is a sector with strong public support, and any blocking based on the views of a vociferous minority will ring alarm bells for all infrastructure investors," said McCaffery.
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