Anti-Wind Campaigners Are Polls Apart From Reality

Here’s a recipe for a May bank holiday treat you won’t find on Masterchef:

1.  Take one converted barn, add a clutch of angelic children, and a sprinkle of doting grandparents.

2.  Stir in a surprise birthday, a formidable quantity of wine and bake in unseasonal warm weather.

3. Allow to cool then serve with the incendiary secret ingredient – a flambee of wind power banter.

Nothing, it seems, gets the party started (or in this case, finished) like the mention of a wind turbine.

The dish can be served in a number of forms, but last weekend saw a novel interpretation.   When the topic was raised, after a brief nibble at some facts, the benign supporting hand of ‘the majority’ was called upon to settle the matter.

It is a tactic familiar to those that have followed recent changes to welfare.  When challenged over the technical injustices or inadequacies of the reforms a government spokesman will frequently assert ‘a majority of the public support the changes’.

Though it is a bit disingenuous that politicians resort to opinion polls to support policy,  and then so quickly denounce them when it comes to elections, at least they are usually right about the polling data.

There was a lot less data on show when the turbine flambee was served last weekend.

I had barely lifted a spoon to dissent from a prevailing anti-wind flavour, when two much loved members of the clan, both with distinguished records in the fossil fuel industry, asserted point blank that the majority of people in Britain were against wind development.   The only figures presented in support were the rather limited sample of those participating in the discussion – there were two of them (anti) and one of me (pro).  Case closed.

I was less convinced.  I’m not sure whether it was indigestion from the pasties, too much Doom Bar or the fact that I had read a poll saying the exact opposite a day before.   Something told me that these two carbon-coated weather vanes were not as indicative of the national opinion on the issue as they claimed.

Pursuing this query led to a rise in temperatures.   The argument looked certain to be settled with a duel between coal picks and turbine blades with the loser walking the plank on a super-tanker, so we moved on.

A few days later, there was time to check the facts:

A ComRes poll of 2019 adults for Renewable UK taken on the eve of the local elections this year shows 76% of British adults are neutral or support wind power.

DECC’s public attitudes tracker, a quarterly survey of 2051 households conducted on 27th-31st March showed support for renewable energy a 82%.  Support for offshore wind is at 76% and onshore wind polls a 68% approval.

At a more local level an ICM poll for Co-operative last December shows 49% of people would support a wind turbine being erected within two miles of their home, with 22% against.

I have searched in vain for a poll that points the other way.

So while there are vociferous calls to end wind development, those voices currently remain in the minority.

Hopefully by making these poll findings compulsory reading at all family gatherings, we can ensure that dessert always ends on a sweeter and less windy note.

 

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