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70% of Scots ‘want renewable energy made government priority’

70% of Scots ‘want renewable energy made government priority’

The majority of Scots want to see the next Scottish Government make renewable energy a priority, according to a poll.

Nearly three-quarters of those quizzed, 70%, said they want to see more energy produced from renewables such as wind, solar, wave and tidal power.

And two-thirds agreed that the next administration should “continue to take forward policies that tackle greenhouse gas emissions and climate change”.

In comparison, around 19% said the next government should prioritise the use of fracking for shale gas, and a third, 33%, said they support new nuclear power plants being treated as a priority.

The YouGov poll, commissioned by Scottish Renewables, has been published on the first day of the body’s annual conference in Edinburgh.

It comes around two months before voters head to the polls for the Holyrood election on May 5.

Niall Stuart, chief executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “The poll suggests that the people of Scotland continue to be strongly behind the growth of renewable energy, with support for the sector way ahead of any other.

“Just months after the Paris climate change agreement, the poll also shows clear support for Scotland’s next government to prioritise policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

When asked about their own energy needs, respondents were given the option of picking from a list of renewable energy devices they would consider installing in or around their own homes.

The most popular option was solar PV panels (39%) followed by solar thermal panels (36%), wind turbines (21%), biomass boilers (20%), heat pumps (20%) and small-scale hydro turbines (13%).

Mr Stuart added: “While only 4% of the sample has small scale renewables at home, there is clear appetite amongst householders to generate their own renewable energy.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland head of campaigns Mary Church said: “What this poll tells us is that people want strong action on climate change, including renewable energy, and they don’t want unsafe, unnecessary industries like shale gas and coal-bed methane.

“Given the urgency of climate science, the growing evidence of the risks associated with fracking, and mounting public pressure for real change, the Scottish Government must get to work on delivering a swift and fair transformation to a fossil-free energy system within a generation.”

Lang Banks, director of WWF Scotland, said: “When given the choice it’s clear that the public would rather see more renewables than fossil fuels or nuclear power. The message to politicians ahead of May’s elections is clear – continue to prioritise renewables and commit to ensuring Scotland becomes the EU’s first fully renewable electricity nation by 2030.

“Independent research has shown that it is possible for Scotland to have a secure, efficient electricity system, based on almost entirely renewable electricity generation, by 2030. Not only is it possible, these new figures show it is by far the most popular public vision for the future.”

The poll, in which 1,013 respondents took part in Scotland, was carried out from February 17-22.

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