New research commissioned by PPS Group has shown that people are more likely to support an energy development if they receive a subsidy toward energy bills. The findings follow the publication of numerous new guidance from DECC earlier this year, which has seen new or increased community benefit packages introduced for onshore wind farms, nuclear power plants and onshore oil and gas exploration sites invloving hydraulic fracturing.
The survey, conducted by Atomik Research with a representative panel of 2,000 respondents across the UK, looked at public acceptability towards energy developments and the role of community benefit packages.
The key findings of the survey include:
- Around half of people thought that community funds which contribute to local projects would make a difference in whether they would support or oppose a development;
- Solar farms were considered to be the most acceptable form of energy development with 83% of people considering having one built in their community acceptable or very acceptable, compared to 73% of people for onshore wind farms;
- A large majority of people (85%) agreed that every community in the UK should play its part in utilising domestic energy resources to help the country meet its energy needs; and
- The location of a new energy project and its impact on local environment were cited as the most important factors in determining whether or not to support or oppose a development.
The survey also revealed that there is a large chunk of people – nearly 40% – who genuinely believe that community benefits can make a positive contribution, provided the package is targeted to meet the community’s needs. In contrast only 24% of people thought that community benefits are glorified bribes, while 21% of people viewed it as a positive mechanism for sharing economic rewards.
Full details of the research are available upon request.