George and the Dragon: public backs clean British energy
Stripped down to its basics, politics is basically a popularity contest. Party leaders pore over polling data and personal ratings. So the mood at Number 10, where I handed in our Final Demand petition just a few weeks ago, must be relatively sombre at the moment. Under fire for granny taxes, Pastygate and petrol panic, David Cameron could do with a lucky break right now.
At Friends of the Earth, we've found a big new idea for the Prime Minister that could rescue the Coalition's ratings - backed overwhelmingly by the great British public. According to new polling from YouGov, 85 per cent of the public want the Government to introduce legislation to make energy companies source our electricity from UK renewable energy - instead of relying on costly foreign gas - which Ofgem says is driving up fuel bills. By our reckoning, that's well over 40 million adults - more than one and half times the number of people who watched the finals of the X-Factor and Strictly combined.
Current power plants are reaching end-of-life, and in the next ten years will need replacing. Two thirds of those polled (64 per cent) want more of their electricity to come from renewable energy from the wind, sun and sea - only two per cent back gas, and three per coal.
On 9 May, the Queen will announce a new Government Bill that will change the rules for our electricity system for a generation. The early plans don't look good: they're set to give us more dirty fossil fuels, new subsidies for risky nuclear power, and the continued domination of the Big Six energy companies raking in huge profits while six million people struggle to pay escalating fuel bills. It's up to the public to make Ministers change their minds.
Today, on St George's Day, we're launching a Clean British Energy campaign, backed by Dragons' Den entrepreneur Deborah Meaden. We're calling on David Cameron and his Energy Secretary, Ed Davey, to reform the power market to wean the UK off fossil fuels and to support new, smaller companies developing clean British energy from our wind, sun and sea. We're asking the PM to use his first big environment speech this Thursday to demonstrate his intent, when he addresses Ministers from the leading 23 economies at a clean energy summit in London.
To turn up the pressure on David Cameron, we need Energy Secretary Ed Davey to fight for more radical plans - which is why we're targeting him in the first of our campaign actions. Please show that you're one of the 85 per cent backing clean British energy by emailing Mr Davey from our new campaign website - and help us make this one of the most popular campaigns ever.
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