Copper Account Manager, Jocelyn Honeywood, looks at attitudes to renewable energy infrastructure following Copper’s ‘Attitudes to infrastructure’ report:
The British public have identified renewable energy as the top infrastructure priority for the country, chosen by 43% of respondents in a recent survey into attitudes to infrastructure. The research demonstrated that renewable energy enjoyed support from across the political spectrum, with Conservative voters just as likely to prioritise renewables as their Labour and Liberal Democrat counterparts.
These findings supported results obtained in an earlier survey conducted by ComRes on behalf of RenewableUK in 2014, where 48% of respondents chose investing in renewables as their number one priority which was again found to reflect views from across the four major political parties.
A survey by Good Energy also showed strong public support for renewables with 59% of respondents saying that they support onshore wind and 76% citing solar power as their top method of electricity generation for the UK.
Surveys consistently show the British public are in favour of renewable energy – the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has revealed consistent public support for renewables in its Public Attitudes Tracker at around 75-80% of respondents.
The government’s announcement that subsidies for onshore wind and solar farms will end a year earlier than planned cast doubt over the future of these methods of energy generation.
British people are split on their opinion of the condition of existing power stations and energy generation in the country, with 38% rating it ‘fairly good, but not great’ and the same number again saying our energy generation is ‘aging/not good enough’.
The public says they want to hear more about plans for the future, with 85% in favour of investment to achieve either solid improvements or aspiring to world-class infrastructure. What is also identified by the research is that community engagement is one of the key components of building confidence in future infrastructure. Around one in six (18%) said they would be ‘very interested’ to be involved in discussions about the infrastructure needs in their area, and almost half (49%) said they would be ‘fairly interested’.
The results show that British people want infrastructure and they can see the benefits. But they want to see a plan, they want to see how it all fits together, they want to be involved and they want to see more leadership. The industry and government now has a job to do to engage with and educate people about the future of energy and build and broaden support to secure the energy supply of the future.
 Independent survey of attitudes to Infrastructure in Great Britain – December 2015
 Independent survey of attitudes to Infrastructure in Great Britain – 2000 adults aged 18+, June 2015