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Poll shows worries about energy – and support for green measures to cut imports

Nearly nine in 10 are concerned about high energy prices, and 83% are worried about the UK’s reliance on imports from overseas, Ipsos survey shows.

15 March 2022

More than three quarters of people support investing more in renewables and energy efficiency to cut reliance on imports as bills soar, a poll suggests.

A survey of more than 1,000 British adults by Ipsos found nearly nine in 10 people (88%) were concerned about the price of home energy – and seven in 10 thought costs will increase “a lot” in the next six months.

More than four-fifths (83%) were concerned about the UK’s reliance on energy imports, and a similar number (82%) were worried that supplies to Britain could be interrupted, affecting gas and electricity to people’s homes.

The poll conducted last week found more than three quarters (76%) thought the chances energy supplies to the UK could be interrupted – with impacts on British homes – would increase over the next six months.

When it came to reducing the UK’s reliance on energy such as coal, oil and electricity from overseas, people were most supportive of investing in more renewables and improving energy efficiency.

Some 77% were in favour of investing more in clean power such as solar, wind and tidal energy, with more than half (54%) strongly supportive.

There was the same level of support for reducing energy use by improving the energy efficiency of homes and businesses, with 47% of those quizzed strongly supporting such a move.

Support for investing more in renewables and reducing demand through energy efficiency held up even if the measures led to an increase in energy bills or taxes, with 73% still supportive of each approach, the poll found.

There were lower levels of support for investing more in nuclear power (53%) and restarting or increasing UK production of fossil fuels such as oil drilling or coal mining (51%), and again only a slight drop in support for both options if it led to an increase in bills or taxes.

Bridget Williams, research director at Ipsos, said: “The current energy crisis and high cost of energy bills, and the Russian invasion of Ukraine and discussions around reliance on Russian oil and gas imports, appear to have brought issues of energy security more top of mind to the British public recently.

“Many are concerned about energy bills now, and how these will change in the future. The public also see increasing chances that events may cause interruptions to energy supplies in the future.

“While many solutions to reduce our future reliance on energy imports will take time to implement, it is encouraging to see strong support for policies which improve the UK’s energy security, even if it leads to short-term pain for households through higher bills and taxes.”

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