Two thirds of rural Scots back wind energy

Almost seven in ten Scots living in rural areas support the use of onshore wind energy, a new poll has found.

The independent survey is the first to focus specifically on what people living outside urban areas think of renewable energy developments.

Results show 66% of rural Scots support the use of onshore wind energy, with 22% saying they have no opinion or don’t know and only 11% opposed to new onshore wind farms.

All renewable energy technologies enjoy high levels of support, with rural Scots backing solar power (83% support), wave and tidal energy (83% support), offshore wind energy (78% support) and biomass (69% support).

The poll, carried out by Survation, also found that eight in ten Scots living in rural areas (80%) think the next Scottish Government should continue to develop renewable energy sources.

In comparison, support for building new fossil fuel (coal, gas or oil) power stations or extending the life of existing ones stands at 42%.

Just 31% of rural Scots back fracking.

Jenny Hogan, director of policy at Scottish Renewables

Jenny Hogan, deputy chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “This latest poll was focussed, for the first time ever, on discovering what Scots in rural areas think about renewables like wind and solar power.

“The nature of Scotland’s renewable energy resource – our wind, tides, forestry and even our long summer evenings, among others – means many renewable energy developments take place in rural areas, providing jobs and economic opportunities which otherwise may not have existed.

“This independent polling shows that not only do rural Scots support the development of renewables, but that their opposition to policies which promote extracting and burning fossil fuels is unmistakeable.

“The fact is that the continued deployment of clean power technologies like wind, solar and biomass is backed by the very people who will benefit most tangibly from these developments.”

WWF Scotland described the poll as “another nail in the coffin for the myth that renewables are unpopular”.

Gina Hanrahan

Gina Hanrahan, the organisation’s head of policy, said: “Not only is onshore wind the cheapest form of new energy, this poll shows it’s also one of the most popular, alongside solar, wave and tidal.

“Just last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sent a clarion call to all nations to act urgently and decisively to bring emissions down, and embracing renewables is one of the best ways of doing this.

“This poll is just another nail in the coffin for the myth that renewables are unpopular, and instead shows that people recognise the economic, social and environmental benefits harnessing our renewable potential can bring to Scotland’s rural areas.”