The British public would prefer to have a solar farm located near them rather than a fracking well, according to a YouGov poll commissioned by the Solar Trade Association.

The poll reveals that the British public are seven times more likely to welcome a local solar farm than a gas fracking field. The survey asked respondents to rate which one local energy development they would prefer to be sited nearby; 40% chose a solar farm, 25% chose a wind farm, 10% a nuclear power station and 6% shale gas fracking and boreholes.   

Of the 2,068 respondents surveyed, two thirds expressed support for the development of either ‘good quality’ or ‘all’ solar farms. The level of public support rose to 71% after the STA’s recent 10 commitments for solar farms were described. Just 5% of people indicated that they opposed the development of all solar farms.    

The ongoing protests at Cuadrilla’s Balcombe fracking site have shone a light on the British public’s appetite for fracking. A number of Conservative MPs, including the Prime Minister, have publically stated their support for fracking under the premise that it could lower household energy bills.

Countering these claims, Dr Doug Parr, chief scientist at Greenpeace UK said: “For all the enthusiasm for fracking emanating from the upper echelons of the Coalition government, the public would actually prefer to be near decent renewable projects like solar power. Cameron and Osborne should start listening to what real people want from local energy rather than trying to turn English counties into their version of Dallas”.

Paul Barwell, CEO of the STA noted that solar must be at the forefront of the UK’s attempt to decarbonise the nation’s energy supply, he said: “Fossil fuels are running out, the climate is changing, UK carbon emissions are on the rise and the world population has doubled in only 50 years. We need alternative energy sources and we need them now”.