'Pressure is mounting within the Conservative party to end its block on new onshore windfarms after evidence that Tory supporters overwhelmingly back their return.
Both Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt, who are battling to become the party’s new leader, are facing internal calls to give the green light to new onshore wind projects that could slash the price of energy. Latest research suggests Tory voters are far more concerned about fracking than they are about onshore windfarms.
Clamping down on onshore wind turbines was used by David Cameron to appease Tory heartlands when he was prime minister. He said people were “frankly fed up” with the farms and slashed their subsidies, effectively making new installations unfeasible. The move led to an 80% slump last year in new onshore wind farms, with the fewest built since 2011. However, polling of more than 15,000 Tory voters suggests there is now clear support for onshore wind farms. The survey, carried out by Survation, for the Conservative Environment Network, showed that 74% of people who voted Conservative in the last election support onshore wind farms. The figure was twice the number of Tory voters who back fracking – just 37%.
Analysis of the poll carried out by Chris Hanretty, professor of politics at Royal Holloway University, found support was high in eight of the 10 constituencies identified by Conservatives as swing seats, targeted by Liberal Democrats. This includes Bath and Richmond Park, where support is 80.7% and 78.1% respectively. Many Tory MPs, irrespective of whether they backed Remain or Leave at the referendum, are uniting in calling for a rethink. Vicky Ford, MP for Chelmsford, who is backing Hunt, said: “Times have changed. More people are more concerned about climate change than ever before, and most people support onshore wind too. Back in 2015, many members of the public were concerned about onshore wind planning applications. That clearly isn’t the case any more – our own voters are telling us otherwise. We should let onshore wind be built where communities want it.”'
Read more: End onshore windfarm ban, Tories urge
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