i News by By Hugo Gye

Most people would support laxer planning rules to build clean energy faster, despite Rishi Sunak’s pledge to ban some green projects altogether and preserve strict rules on others.

A YouGov poll for new campaign group, Britain Remade, also found almost two-thirds of the population are pessimistic about the future for their family, as the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts a lost decade for average living standards.

A similar proportion believe the UK is bad at building the infrastructure needed for economic growth – with just 18 per cent praising the country’s record.

It can take more than a decade to build new energy projects, Britain Remade pointed out; for example, a new offshore windfarm off the cost of Yorkshire, Hornsea 3, was proposed in 2016 and will not be operational in 2027 – during which time the price of fossil fuels has soared and Britain has signed up to swingeing carbon emissions cuts.

When 1,691 adults were surveyed by YouGov at the start of this month, 52 per cent said they would back “clean energy zones” where the regulations around green infrastructure are dramatically scaled back. Only 11 per cent were against.

Asked what forms of energy they wanted to see expanded, solar farms and offshore wind were top of the list with coal and fracking at the bottom. The Prime Minister has been lukewarm about solar farms and ruled out any more onshore wind projects, while backing offshore wind and nuclear power.

Sam Richards, a former adviser to Boris Johnson who runs Britain Remade, said: “Across the UK, infrastructure projects that will reduce our reliance on foreign gas, slash bills and create decent jobs are being held up by bottlenecks in our planning system. This is just one reason for why the British economy is stalling. It doesn’t have to be this way.”

Just 24 per cent of Britons are optimistic about their family’s opportunities, with 63 per cent saying they are pessimistic. The OBR has projected a 7 per cent fall in average disposal income over the next two years, while the overall size of the country’s economy is not forecast to match its pre-pandemic level before 2025.

Mr Richards said: “People are right to feel frustrated. The economic facts are grim. A British family is now almost £6,000 worse off than the average German family, around £13,500 worse off than the average American family, and on course to be poorer than a Polish family within a decade.

“Currently, too many people feel ignored by our politicians, which is why I have started Britain Remade to campaign for real change that can create real impact up and down Britain.” The non-partisan campaign will aim to win over leaders of all parties to prioritise growth over other policy goals.