Net Zero: the Midlands demand more

Written by


Oscar Jordan

Published


With the dust settling from local elections across the Midlands, BECG considers how trust in the delivery of Net Zero targets may have had an impact on voting decisions.  

Prior to the local elections, BECG commissioned polling to understand people’s attitudes to local renewable energy development, their perspective on government action, and whether they trust parties to deliver.  

Yes please – build it here! 

“We understand the need, but we just don’t think it needs to be near us”. 

A local sentiment plaguing the renewable energy sector, particularly surrounding solar. But interestingly, talking to people in the Midlands, it seems this adage may no longer ring true.  

Despite the popular NIMBY narrative, the results of our polling show most people across the Midlands are actually in favour of wind, solar, and nuclear projects being developed near to where they live.  

A staggering 87% of respondents in the Midlands said they would support solar projects being developed in their area. This stands in stark contrast to the protesting pickets and banners littering rural communities across the country. Could this be a sign that this is a waning view in the Midlands? Maybe.  

Wind power also proved more popular than many would expect, with 76% of respondents supporting onshore wind development near them, and 75% (of this landlocked region) supporting offshore wind developments nearby.  

Nuclear was less popular, with just 46% of Midlands respondents saying they would support its development near to their home. This is no surprise and another sign that understanding technology is intrinsically linked to support.  

But is the government doing enough? 

Despite climate emergencies declared by nearly all local authorities across the Midlands – it is clear, the voters don’t think so! 👇 

Type of energy The Government should do more The Government is doing enough The Government is doing too much 
Nuclear 52% 14% 15% 
Onshore wind 67% 17% 3% 
Offshore wind 72% 14% 15% 
Solar 77% 14% 5% 

People in the Midlands are demanding more from their government across all key energy sectors – and who can blame them? With the threat posed by climate change better understood than ever, perhaps people in the Midlands are realising, it really is now or never.  

Our polling suggests that people in the Midlands want their government to lead by example, creating a landscape that enables and encourages the development of more renewable energy projects.  

But crucially, do they actually trust any of the parties to deliver? 

While we can support Net Zero as individuals, to make real, effective change we need the support of our politicians and decision-makers, at both a local and national level.  

All major parties touched on Net Zero as part of their May election campaigns, but the real question is, who is actually trusted to deliver?  

In a result that will surprise nobody, topping the charts, 53% of Midlands respondents trust the Green Party to deliver on Net Zero targets – a figure also reflected across national polling.  

The second most trusted was the Labour Party with 51%. However, confidence in the Conservatives, who prior to 4th May controlled many marginal councils across the region, was significantly lower – at just 35%.  

Encouraging signs for the sector!

After 13 years of Conservative dominance across the Midlands, particularly in rural areas, could the loss of faith in the party’s ability to deliver on Net Zero have played a part in their heavy loss of seats?  

This poll should provide renewable energy developers with confidence to invest in the Midlands. Local people want to see their government do more to support objectives that tackle climate change, and perhaps more are willing for it to be built near them than previously thought. 

With local communities putting more pressure on their local representatives around renewable energy, it is critical to ensure a joined-up approach to communications with both the community and local politicians. 

BECG has a strong understanding of the political landscape across the Midlands and the importance of public perception of renewables. Our experience in this field allows BECG to provide expert advice on engaging these sensitive and often tight-knit localities. Get in touch to discuss how we can support your schemes. 

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