MPs campaigning against onshore wind thought ‘less of’ by voters – new polling

A series of new polls of MPs and the public have revealed a large disconnect on support for onshore wind.

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By George Smeeton

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Information on this page correct as of:

A series of new polls of MPs and the public have revealed a large disconnect on support for onshore wind.

While 43% of MPs believe more people in their constituency would oppose a new onshore wind farm, just 19% believe more would support one [1]. In reality, 77% of people say they would support a new onshore wind farm being built in their area [2].

Two-thirds (64%) of Conservative MPs thought more people in their constituency would oppose a new onshore wind farm, compared to 20% of Labour MPs. Just 4% of Conservative MPs thought more constituents would support a new local onshore wind farm.

73% of Conservative voters in the 2019 election say they would support an onshore wind farm in their area, compared to just 19% who say they would oppose it. 84% of 2019 Labour voters would support a local onshore wind farm.

Another poll found that 62% of adults say they would ‘think less of’ an MP who campaigned against the development of an onshore wind near them. This is true of 60% of those who voted Conservative in the 2019 election and 76% of those who voted Labour.

Commenting, Simon Clarke, Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said: "This is further evidence that onshore wind is popular with voters - more so than many realise. Given the urgent need for new energy supplies to bring down bills and achieve energy self-sufficiency, it would be hugely regressive to block new onshore wind farms where communities support them. This policy affects not just how voters perceive our record on tackling climate change, but our seriousness on tackling the root causes of high energy prices and the cost of living."

Peter Chalkley, Director of the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit (ECIU), said: “There’s a real danger that MPs are hearing a small number of loud voices, but missing out on the silent majority who may not say it, but are turned off on MP by seeing them campaign against a local wind farm.

“At a time when more onshore wind would bring down bills, cut our foreign gas dependence and create growth around the country, the government and MPs will need to ask themselves if they are truly reflecting public opinion on this key issue.”

The polling found that MPs underestimate how popular onshore wind is amongst the voting public. Just 48% of MPs believe those who voted for them at the last election are favourable towards onshore wind, compared to 38% who have an unfavourable opinion.

61% of Conservative MPs think people who voted for them at the last election have an unfavourable view of onshore wind, whereas in fact the reverse is true with 63% of their voters saying they are favourable to onshore wind. 85% of Labour MPs think their voters view wind favourably compared to 82% who say they do. In general 70% of the public say they are favourable to wind making it one of the most popular energy sources alongside offshore wind (77%) and solar (81%).


MP Polling conducted by YouGov among 103 MPs between 9th March – 7th April 2023

Public polling conducted by YouGov. Sample size 2006 adults in GB between 6th – 11th April 2023