Sunday 4 November 2012

Wild Land, Wind Farms & Public Opinion: New Survey

The John Muir Trust has just released a new YouGov poll that shows that more people (40%) want wild land protected from wind farms than want wind farms prioritised over wild land (28%). The survey also shows that 43% of people would be less likely to visit a scenic area with large numbers of wind turbines while only 2% said they would be more likely to visit such an area.

JMT commissioned this poll because previous polls showing support for wind power didn’t ask about locating turbines on wild land. These polls have been quoted repeatedly by energy companies to justify industrialising wild land even though they did not show support for this, only for wind power in general. In fact, as the JMT poll shows, far more people are against wind farms in wild land than in favour of them.

Interestingly, the poll, which covered the whole of the UK, showed that opposition to wind farms in wild areas was strongest in areas like the West Midlands and London, showing that this isn’t a countryside “nimbys” against the rest issue.

Hopefully politicians will take note of this survey and think carefully about where wind farms should be located. It should encourage tourism bodies to more actively object to wind farms in scenic areas too. Overall, I find this poll very encouraging as it shows that those of us campaigning for wild land are not out of touch with public feeling. Rather it is those who wish to industrialise wild land who are ignoring public opinion.


  1. Are you disillusioned by rising electricity prices, over dependence on the “green” dream [especially uneconomical and inefficient wind farms] and the destruction of our countryside then please object to the Government at

    or by GOOGLING “E-PETITION 22958″ and following the link.

    Please pass this message on to Councillors, members of your community and anyone else you know to persuade them to sign up too.

  2. The response from the west midlands is gratifying and probably understandable. I live at the south western extremity of the region and the natural route of 'escape' is west/northwest - Shropshire, The Marches, Mid Wales, North Wales, the coast. What started as a trickle of turbines has quickly escalated into a flood and people have seen enough.

  3. It's good news, it really is, and all campaigners can be proud of what they have achieved. At last, some sort of firm evidence to back up the momentum out there.

    But I suspect there is no room for complacency. People can be quite fickle and their "support" might alter the next time someone presents them with a poll where the question is differently worded.

    Like others, though, I hope Government get to see this, and are made to understand the situation. Let's hope those 100 or so "anti" MP's can make some real capital from this in the corridors of Whitehall, for that is the only place the travesty of ruining those last few wild places ca be halted - before it's too late.

  4. Interesting outcome. I wonder whether it will make it to the BBC Scotland webpage? A few weeks ago they were very prompt in relaying the results of the survey commissioned by Visitscotland that claimed support for wind farms. Will the JMT survey be accorded similar prominence? Somehow, I very much doubt it.

  5. A good poll, Chris.
    We should shove this under the noses of whoever posts that discredited earlier poll. By the way - that 80% mentioned in that poll is completely bogus, as I wrote about HERE

  6. Meanwhile, in other news, another wind farm on the *West* side of the country get approved. Mission creep continues:

    25 132m turbines will be built near the Glen Moriston outrage. Fergus Ewing has done it again.

    If you check their environmental statement:

    there's a map at the bottom and you'll see the turbines are VERY prominent on a ridge that is visible from the Knoydart Munros, the Glen Shiel one and the Loch Lochy ones. They've made no effort at all to shield them behind a ridge. Unbelievable.

    This is going to be a HUGE change to that part of the West Coast. For example, the wonderful views from Gleouraich are now spoilt forever.

    Bottom line, no area is safe.

    1. Rather curious. The BBC have now pulled down the page I linked in my post this morning. There's now only a link to an external website:

      but it's hidden away in the Highlands and Islands webpage:

      This morning the link was instead straight from the front page of the BBC Scotland webpage.

      So, not only are they not reporting the JMT report, but now they are also not reporting on the largest wind farm ever approved on the West Coast.

      They are turning more and more into the tartan Pravda...

    2. Andy, I've lost count of the number of emails I've sent to the BBC on this subject, without ever receiving anything other than an automated response. I've tried the natural history unit, links via specific programme web pages, and the sites of various wildlife and natural history presenters, always asking pretty much the same question: Why is the BBC so coy about dealing openly with the issue of turbines, in its broadcasts and on its web pages?

      I intend to keep trying.

  7. Well, a week on, and no mention whatsoever on the BBC website of the JMT/YouGov poll.

    Compare this with the prominence given to the Visitscotland survey back in the spring:

    Still there on their website.

    Looks to me like the JMT should lodge a complaint with the Press Complaint Commission, just for fun...