Wind Power Opposition May Cost U.K. Conservatives, Poll Shows

Jul 11, 2014 6:57 am ET

July 11 (Bloomberg) -- Britain’s ruling Conservative Party may lose votes in next year’s general election because of its opposition to onshore wind power, a poll by ComRes commissioned by the RenewableUK industry group showed.

Thirty percent of Britons would be less likely to vote for a party that’s against wind turbines on land, compared with 15 percent who would be more likely to do so, according to results of the survey posted on the ComRes website today. The gap was almost twice as wide in the 40 constituencies that are the most competitive between Conservatives and the Labour opposition.

Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives have pledged to end subsidies for onshore wind should they win the election scheduled for next May. While in control of the government, they’ve taken measures to slow the deployment of wind farms, aiming to appeal to constituents in rural districts who see turbines as a blight on the landscape.

“This poll shows that anti-onshore wind policy is a clear vote loser,” RenewableUK Chief Executive Officer Maria McCaffery said in an e-mailed statement. “Onshore wind is the cheapest form of low-carbon technology and provided enough power for 3.8 million households last year. Voters understand it’s wrong to rule out further onshore wind and will not back candidates who try to.”

ComRes interviewed 2,065 adults online from June 20 through June 22 and weighted the data to be representative of all U.K. adults. The pollster also said it interviewed a representative sample of 1,008 adults living in the 40 most marginal constituencies where the Conservatives and Labour shared first and second place at the 2010 general election. It didn’t provide a margin of error.