A new survey conducted by the UK Government has found that while support for renewable energy has remained high among the country’s public, support for nuclear and shale gas has recently plummeted.
The results of the 19th wave of the UK Government’s Public Attitudes Tracking Survey were released this week, which revealed the temperature of the public’s views regarding a variety of issues, taken in the Survey’s shorter, supplemental survey conducted during September and October. The Public Attitudes Tracking Survey (PATS) consists of a large survey taken every March, as well as three shorter, supplemental surveys taken during June, September, and December.
From this latest survey it was shown that UK public support for renewable energy remained high, with 79% expressing support for the use of renewables, while opposition to the use of renewables was at a nice low of 4%, with only 1% strongly opposed. Support for specific types of renewable energy reflected this overall support, with solar receiving 82% support from the UK public, followed by offshore wind and wave & tidal energy, both with 75%, and onshore wind with 71%.
“It’s great to see public support for onshore wind has reached its highest ever level, at an overwhelming 71%,” said Hugh McNeal, RenewableUK’s Chief Executive. “Onshore wind is the cheapest form of new power generation available in Britain, so it makes sense to use it to keep people’s electricity bills as low as possible.”
Conversely, the surveys show drops in support for nuclear power and shale gas. Specifically, support for nuclear has remained relatively stable, but over the last year it has dropped from 38% support at wave 17 to 36% at wave 18, and down to 33% at this latest wave of questions. Subsequently, 26% were now opposed to nuclear energy, up from 22% at wave 18.
Support for shale gas also took a hit, though the general lack of knowledge about shale gas lays something of a cloud over the results. While 79% were aware of fracking for shale gas, only 14% claimed to know much about fracking, while 45% said they knew very little. As such, half of respondents (48%), when asked whether they supported the extraction of shale gas, chose the neutral option, while only 33% opposed fracking and 17% supported it.
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