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Poll: UK voters want to speed up the transition to a cleaner energy future

20 Nov 2023

Ahead of the 2023 Autumn Statement  the Chancellor has been sent a clear message from voters to get building new energy infrastructure to boost UK energy security.

A new poll of more than 6,000 people shows that the British public wants to speed up the transition to a cleaner energy system to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels. It also suggests that voters support measures to increase investment and reduce the amount of time it takes to build new, clean homegrown power.

The poll was commissioned by SSE, the leading UK-based electricity infrastructure company, and conducted by J.L Partners using a UK representative audience. It provides important insights into public attitudes ahead of the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, which is expected to include a number of energy-related announcements.

The results show that energy remains a top priority for voters, and that there is broad support amongst the electorate for policies which deliver investment in infrastructure and accelerate the delivery of clean, homegrown energy. The poll findings include:

  • 83% of people think that building more energy infrastructure to reduce dependence on imported fossil fuels is important to the future of Britain

  • 78% of people believe the Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown that we need to speed up the transition to clean energy so we can generate more of our energy at home. Two-thirds of voters support reducing the amount of time it takes to build energy infrastructure

  • 73% of people support bringing forward more investment in our electricity grids and 69% of voters believe that investment should be made ahead of need

  • Over 60% of people would be willing to pay more for their electricity if it meant carbon emissions in the long term would be lower (64%); there were more jobs for workers in the UK (63%); and if it meant there was less public spending and borrowing in the longer term (61%)

  • 43% of voters would be less likely to vote for a candidate opposing local energy investment; compared to just 19% of respondents who would be more likely to vote for a candidate opposing investment

"As the UK’s clean energy champion, we know that building more clean, homegrown energy is important for our energy security and the economy. These results show that the British people agree."

Alistair Phillips-Davies Chief Executive, SSE

Alistair continued:

“The Chancellor can turbocharge the transition with policies that make the UK the easiest place in the world to invest in and build new energy infrastructure. The benefits are enormous. SSE alone could invest more than £40bn this decade creating and supporting thousands of good jobs across the country if the policy environment and planning processes allow – and we want to get on with it.”

Tom Lubbock from pollsters J.L Partners said:

“What this research brings home is that voters are really pragmatic when it comes to energy infrastructure. There is no sense of wishful thinking with the public – they know that the transition to net zero needs investment in the UK sooner rather than later.

“That investment in homegrown clean energy attracts support from a broad-based coalition of voters. More to the point there is a really sizeable – election changing – group of voters who say they are less likely to vote for candidates who block that investment locally.”

Read the clean energy transition polling results.