Survey shows public support for urban wind

A recent public opinion survey shows 80% support for urban wind turbines. 29% of people are considering installing microgeneration systems on their own homes in the UK. A surprise finding was that only 8% of people said they would object to planning applications for microgeneration next door.

A survey of public attitudes to microgeneration has been carried out as part of a project to trial up to 20 small-scale wind systems in the UK Midlands. The trial aims to gauge public reaction, the impact of microgeneration on attitudes to energy efficiency, and to explore how the systems perform technically on a variety of building types and locations. It is funded by the local authority and Pilkington Energy Efficiency Trust, and is being led by independent micro-energy specialists, Encraft.

Respondents were asked to express degrees of preference between different small-scale energy technologies. Solar was most popular, with 69% of people fully supporting it for almost all buildings. Free standing wind systems were next most supported, with over 50% of people saying they would fully support either small or large scale wind farms. Rooftop wind systems came next with 47% of people offering unequivocal support. Community power systems were least popular, at around 40%.

When those who "agree in principle" are added to those who "fully support" these technologies, the figures for all technologies are significantly higher, exceeding 80% support for all technologies except community power, which stands at 68%.

The surprise finding of the survey was that only 7.7% of people said they would object if their neighbours applied for planning permission for a wind or solar system next door. This figure was expected to be much higher, especially given that only 29% of people said they would even occasionally consider installing any form of microgeneration on their property.

Full details of the survey findings are available online at

Planning is currently seen as a major barrier to take up of small-scale renewables, and the government is reviewing whether changes need to be made to the system.

Encraft plan to repeat the survey a year after the first trial systems are installed to see how attitudes change, if at all.

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