The fully-weighted poll by Survation shows that support is higher among those who voted Conservative in the 2019 general election, with 71 per cent in favour and six per cent opposed.
According to the poll, people see the lack of new grid infrastructure as the biggest barrier to making the most of new renewable energy sources, with 51 per cent citing it as a severe or moderate problem. This rises to 55 per cent among Conservative voters.
The government’s electricity networks commissioner Nick Winser published a report on August 4, 2023 on how to speed up building new grid infrastructure, including proposals to ensure that communities benefit from this.
In Survation’s polling, 61 per cent of people said a guaranteed community benefit fund provided by a grid developer would make them more in favour of an electricity powerline within five miles of their home. This support increased to 65 per cent among Conservative voters.
Having a voice to influence what is installed is important too, as 62 per cent said clear guidance from grid developers about the ways in which the grid infrastructure could be changed – such as putting cables underground and pylon design - would make them more favourable towards it. Even higher proportions of Conservative voters supported all these measures (63 per cent to 71 per cent).
Similar proportions of people (59 per cent-62 per cent) said clarity on how the new powerline would increase energy security, maximise jobs and industrial investment, support decarbonisation and tackle climate change would be important.
In a statement, Barnaby Wharton, RenewableUK’s director of Future Electricity Systems said: “This polling shows that, contrary to some widespread misconceptions, most people are in favour of building vital new grid infrastructure to connect up clean energy projects and enable them to deliver cheap power to British homes and businesses, increasing our energy security. It’s interesting for government to note that Conservative voters support this even more than the general public.
“Not only is there a strong foundation of support for new grid development, but government can build on that support by taking forward the recommendations in the report just released by the government’s electricity networks commissioner Nick Winser. One of the clear messages from the polling is that people want to feel the benefits of hosting new grid near their homes, with funding for local community projects high on their list of priorities, alongside clear explanations of why it’s needed and how they can influence what’s built in their area.
“We now have an opportunity to move forward and reach a greater consensus on how to modernise our grid, so that’s fit for purpose in the twenty-first century, while ensuring that we maintain strong public support for these vital upgrades which will benefit everyone.”
Survation’s poll of 1,039 people was conducted on July 14, 2023.