Starmer pledges state-owned energy firm in conference speech
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Prime Minister Liz Truss’s plans to bring fracking back to the UK could backfire, as polls show that most, including Tory voters, do not want it to return, and prefer her predecessor Boris Johnson’s vision for the UK’s energy security. Under Mr Johnson’s leadership, the UK rolled out major environmental policies and made greater progress in tackling the climate crisis than his predecessors in the past decade. The former Prime Minister was a major advocate for renewable energy, especially following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which sent the price of wholesale to record levels, while the cost of generating wind and solar power remained the same.
Meanwhile, one of the first acts made by Ms Truss and her Business Secretary Jacob Rees-Mogg was to lift the fracking ban in a bid to “strengthen our energy security” amid Putin’s “weaponisation of energy”.
Fracking supporters say that extracting Britain’s shale gas would slash the reliance on expensive imports and scupper the UK’s remaining reliance on Russia.
Although Ms Truss said she would lift the ban on the practice three years ago, she has said fracking will only go ahead in areas which support it.
While fracking could help boost the UK’s energy security, a new research has revealed that most Britons are against having a site near their home, with just 17 percent of UK adults and 29 percent of Conservative voters supporting the development of a fracking site within one mile of their property.
The new report, commissioned by global communications agency Diffusion, revealed Conservative party voters favoured Mr Johnson’s plans for the UK’s energy security, which involved an accelerated investment in renewable energy like solar, wind and nuclear, which would lower household bills in the years ahead.
When it comes to fracking, they found that the controversial energy extraction process was hugely unpopular among Labour and Lib Dem voters, with just eight percent and 10 percent respectively showing support for a project within one mile of their property.
Among Tory voters, the support rose to 29 percent, which is still significantly low, especially when the polls even offered to slash their bills in half in the hypothetical scenario.
When it came to onshore wind and solar projects however, a majority of voters from all three parties were in favour of renewable energy farms near their property, especially when offered huge discounts on their bills.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, Daljit Bhurji, CEO of Diffusion, the agency that commissioned report, commented: “This independent research explodes the myth peddled during the Tory leadership race that local communities are opposed to new wind and solar farms.
“In fact, even the majority of Tory voters who would live closest to proposed new renewable farms are in favour, if they are fairly compensated.
“When it comes to energy policy the public are clearly more in tune with Boris’ vision when he left office urging a massive increase in renewables that can very quickly deliver the higher volumes of cheaper electricity needed to help lower our bills.
“What remains hugely unpopular with all voters across the UK is Liz Truss’ obsession with fracking, even if offered incentives of 50 percent of electricity bills in return for allowing drilling on their doorstep.
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“The message from our report is clear, the ability to unlock huge amounts of new on-shore wind and solar is there for the taking if the Government can work with the energy companies to deliver a generous partnership with local communities.”
Among Conservative voters, the report found that 68 percent favoured solar farms, while 59 percent favoured onshore wind farms.
While Ms Truss’ Government may have brought back fracking, she also slashed red tape around the construction of onshore wind projects, allowing to be built as fast as other infrastructure projects across the country.
Mr Johnson was a major proponent of wind power, hailing it in one of his final speeches as Prime Minister, saying: “We’re now racing towards our target of 50GW of offshore wind by 2030. 50GW is probably half the electricity consumption of the country from offshore wind.
“Offshore wind is now the cheapest form of electricity in this country. Offshore wind is nine times cheaper than gas with the insanity of what Putin has done. That way it entirely makes sense for us to be more self-reliant. It is also entirely clean and green.
“Renewables are not only important for us to defeat climate change, they’re helping keep bills lower now.”
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