The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has released the results of its Wave 5 Public Attitudes Tracker survey, part of a series of such surveys conducted in order to understand and monitor UK public attitudes to the department’s main business priorities. The survey is conducted four times a year and consists of one long annual survey complimented by three, shorter, quarterly surveys. The shorter surveys are focused on a particular subset of questions where the department thinks attitudes might change quickly or be affected by seasonal changes.
The Wave 5 survey was conducted between 27th and 31st of March 2013 using face to face interviews in domestic homes with a representative sample of 2,051 households in the UK. Among the findings, the survey revealed that concern about energy bills in the UK has reached the highest level since the first, Wave 1, study was conducted with 59 percent of adults concerned about rising energy bills compared to 56 percent in Wave 1 and 45 to 50 percent over Waves 2 to 4. Concern about energy security has also increased with 88 percent of respondents expressing concern about steep rises in energy bills in the future over the next ten to twenty years.
79 percent of respondents were concerned about the UK becoming too dependent on energy imported from other countries and 75 percent were concerned that the country is not investing in renewable energy quickly enough. There is a strong level of support for a mixed package of energy sources with 85 percent supporting solar, 77 percent supporting wave and tidal, 76 percent supporting offshore wind and 68 percent supporting onshore wind. 64 percent support biomass.
The numbers of respondents saying they have a smart meter rose to 12 percent from 6 percent in Wave 1.
Despite the positive response, the Daily Telegraph reported this morning that opposition to wind turbines among Conservative MP’s remains high with a number of them promising to oppose every wind turbine application in their constituency. One of the main vocal opponents is MP Chris Heaton-Harris who is leading an informal cross-party group which opposes the spread of wind farms.