66 per cent of the UK public are in favour of wind energy

The Guardian is among the media outlets reporting the findings of an Ipsos MORI survey for RenewableUK which shows that 66 per cent of the UK public are in favour of wind energy. This is encouraging news for the renewables sector and makes especially interesting reading for me as the latest addition to Proteus where I will be working with the team supporting new infrastructure developments, including wind farms.

Whilst RenewableUK’s data clearly shows that more than two-thirds of the population are in favour of the use of wind power, it would be unwise to ignore the 11 per cent who are either opposed, or strongly opposed, to the technology, or get too excited that wind power developments will easily and successfully pass through the planning process given the evidence in their favour.

Effectively engaging with local communities is absolutely critical to all developers seeking permission for projects of almost any size and scale – something I know well after more than six years in PR working on a range of planning and development projects. Understanding and responding to the concerns and queries, particularly of those living in close proximity to development sites, is a key part of the planning process and even more crucial following the introduction of the Localism Act.

However strong the support for wind technology, new housing developments or major high ways improvements etc. may be nationally, the sway of public opinion at a local level remains unpredictable and developers ignore local communities at their peril.  Establishing early and effective, two-way communication with those living in the vicinity of a development is now more important than ever. It isn’t simply a case of providing access to non-technical, objective information, there is a need and requirement to actively listen and respond to feedback over a significant period of time. Equipping communities with the tools to learn about and influence proposals will lead to a greater understanding of development objectives, particularly in the renewables sector which can still be described as in its infancy.

It’s great to see that wind energy is supported by the majority of the population, it’s a solid and reassuring building block for the sector and it is a very exciting time to working in the industry and contributing to its growth. Proteus is also growing and developing and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead as part of an award-winning team here that knows how to deliver the right results.

Date posted: May 30, 2012