UK public support energy system change, but sceptical about energy firms, says report

15 July 2013 (Last Updated July 15th, 2013 18:30)

The majority of people in Britain support the idea of energy system change, but are sceptical about energy companies or the government to carry it out, a new study has found.

Nuclear

The majority of people in Britain support the idea of energy system change, but are sceptical about energy companies or the government to carry it out, a new study has found.

The study, funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC), was carried out on 2,441 people across the UK by a team of researchers from the Universities of Cardiff and Nottingham.

In the survey, approximately 74% were very or fairly concerned about climate change, while 82% were worried the UK is becoming too dependent on energy from other countries.

The study found that 79% wanted to see a reduction in the use of fossil fuels over the next few decades, while 81% expressed a desire to reduce their energy use.

According to the survey, 42% said they were unaware of carbon capture and storage, and new low-carbon technologies for the home.

Support for the nuclear power was weak with 54% saying that they would oppose the construction of a new nuclear power station in their area.

"The public is also keen for policymakers to clarify how current changes to the energy system fit with longer-term plans, and to develop an intelligible and coherent strategy for this."

Cardiff University School of Psychology professor Nick Pidgeon said the research has shown that people are more likely to accept changes that show signs of commitment to their values, such as energy system components that are clean, efficient, fair and safe.

"The public is also keen for policymakers to clarify how current changes to the energy system fit with longer-term plans, and to develop an intelligible and coherent strategy for this," Pidgeon said.

Good Energy CEO and founder Juliet Davenport said it is little surprise the energy market continues to be a source of distrust for the public, but the research clearly shows how green technology creates the opportunity to turn that around.

"Renewable technology is like any other transformational technology; it can break down barriers, open up markets and create new opportunities for new people. But most importantly it can hand control back to the consumer," Davenport said.

The study was based on the findings from two phases of research carried out over 30 months, and a series of six workshops with members of the public held across England, Scotland and Wales.


Image: The report showed that 54% said they would oppose the construction of a new nuclear power station in their area. Photo: courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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