A new poll, commissioned by Britain Remade, has revealed people in the North East overwhelmingly support building more clean energy infrastructure, but don’t believe they are getting their fair share of investment from Westminster to make this a reality.
According to the poll, 85% of residents in the North East are in support of building more onshore wind in their community, higher than any other region in the UK. The North East also tops the poll for being most supportive of more local offshore wind (90%) and building more solar panels on homes (91%).
Almost half of people in the North East supported having a nuclear power station in their area, well above the national average of 39%.
The region was less supportive of traditionally dirtier sources of energy, with less than 40% wanting a gas fired power station nearby, and less than a third backing a new coal fired power station.
The poll, conducted by Opinium on behalf of new campaign Britain Remade, also revealed communities in the North East are most likely to feel they aren’t getting their fair share of investment from Westminster, with only 13% believing that they did.
Britain Remade, who commissioned the poll, is a national campaign to remove the barriers which are blocking more clean energy infrastructure that could create economic growth, jobs and prosperity.
Sam Richards, Head of the campaign, said the North East had the potential to reinvigorate its proud industrial heritage to attract and grow new clean industries such as onshore wind, but this potential was being held back by an unresponsive and outdated planning and regulatory system.
Sam Richards, Head of Britain Remade, said:
“From steelmaking to engineering and chemicals to processing, the North East has a proud industrial heritage that has shaped the world. In places like Blyth and Teesside local leaders have made great progress in attracting investments in clean energy projects ranging from offshore wind to hydrogen production.
However, the huge amount of talent in the North East could go to waste because of needless barriers put in the way of building the infrastructure the region and the country needs. We already know the country needs more energy infrastructure, this poll has revealed people want more energy infrastructure, so we must now remove the political and regulatory barriers that are stopping that infrastructure and the huge about of jobs they will create across the North East.”
Over the last few years, the North East has established itself as a centre of excellence when it comes to the offshore wind sector with significant investments secured, such as SeAH Winds £300m Teesside facility. But the successful offshore wind sector is beset by delays. It takes up to 13 years to get a new offshore wind farm up and running, despite the construction takes just a fraction of that time. Significantly more time is spent on getting planning consent for projects, carrying out increasingly lengthy environmental impact assessments, and seeing off potential legal challenges.
Britain Remade are holding series of campaign events in the region over the next fortnight, including meetings with local businesses, a roundtable with the chamber of commerce, a focus group with local residents and a reception for local people and decision makers.