IMechE criticises government's 'confused energy policy'

A poll by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers on UK energy policy has found that 64 per cent of the public is concerned about possible blackouts, and that 93 per cent are worried about higher electricity and gas bills.

The poll of over 2,000 members of the public also found that 51 per cent of people think the government should support the construction of more renewable energy sources.

The survey revealed also that 33 per cent of people would consider personally investing in small-scale community renewable projects like wind farms, solar farms or small-scale biomass plants.

Of the people surveyed, 25 per cent said they would consider investing in Energy Bonds where money would be used to build large energy infrastructure projects like nuclear power stations or large offshore wind farms.

Dr Tim Fox, head of Energy and Environment at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said, ‘These results show there is a severe lack of public confidence in the government’s confused energy policy.

‘There are clear concerns that there is an insufficient amount of investment in new energy infrastructure and that the UK faces a future of high energy prices for consumers and possible blackouts.

‘Confidence in government energy policy has been damaged by its mixed messages on low-carbon energy policy and uncertainty over its support for a new nuclear build programme.

‘Government must stop playing politics with our energy system and the environment and make clear exactly how it is going to ensure that the country’s future needs are affordably met. It is only with this clarity that energy companies will have the confidence to invest in the infrastructure needed to keep the nation warm, lit, moving and working.’

According to IMEchE, the people polled were asked about what types of technology they would favour to secure future energy supplies. Renewable energy sources were the most popular, with 51 per cent of people saying the government should provide more support for these projects. 43 per cent said there should be more support for offshore wind farms, 31 per cent for onshore wind farms; while eight per cent supported more gas-fired power stations.

This poll follows the publication of another Institution poll on 28 May which found that 43 per cent of the public would support a government subsidy for the construction of new nuclear power in the UK, which compares with just 28 per cent who said they would not.

The poll of 2,034 people was carried out by ICM, on behalf of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, on 3-6 May.