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David Cameron has come under fire on St George’s Day today (Monday 23 April 2012) as a new poll from Friends of the Earth reveals 85 per cent of Brits would like to see the Government increasing the use of clean British energy and reducing the use of overseas gas.

The YouGov poll, released to mark the launch of the environment charity’s new Clean British Energy campaign supported by Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden, shows almost nine out of ten people want the Government to back Britain by developing renewable energy from UK wind, solar, wave and tidal power.

Friends of the Earth is calling on David Cameron to use his first green speech as Prime Minister, due later this week at an international energy summit, to shift the energy market away from just six big energy firms who rely on fossil fuels to power our homes – driving up prices for hard-pressed households – and help new clean British energy businesses to thrive.

When people were asked which sources of energy they would most like to see providing more of their electricity in ten years’ time, 64 per cent backed wind, wave, solar or tidal power – which the UK has huge supplies of – while just two per cent of those polled backed gas. Despite this, recent announcements from Ministers will trigger a new dash for gas that’s likely to be met with foreign imports.

Deborah Meaden said:

“David Cameron needs to listen to the public and say ‘I’m in’ to clean British energy, opening up a multibillion pound opportunity for British businesses.

“Gas, coal and nuclear are the technologies of the past. Our country has the skills and the talent to be world-beaters in the renewable energy technologies of right now.

“Friends of the Earth’s Clean British Energy campaign would switch the UK to home-grown clean power – we can’t afford not to.”

Friends of the Earth’s Director of Policy and Campaigns Craig Bennett added:

“The public has given a clear vote of confidence to clean British energy from our wind, sun and sea – it makes no sense for the Government to pursue an unwanted, costly dash for gas that’s causing our fuel bills to rocket.

“Ministers have a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our electricity market to help smaller businesses, schools and communities plug into clean and affordable power.

“David Cameron must back Britain by using his speech to kick-start a switch to clean British energy – it’s time to wave goodbye to costly fossil fuels and develop affordable power for the future.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

1.      All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2884 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 15th - 17th April 2012. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
2.      Currently, only 9.5 per cent of UK electricity comes from renewable energy sources.
3.      Britain lags far behind other European countries like Germany and Italy, who invested around three times as much money in clean energy in 2011. For further information see a recent report by the Pew Environment Group, ‘Who’s winning the clean energy race?’, which compares investment in clean energy by country.
4.      Department for Energy and Climate Change figures show that there has been nearly £4bn of investment in renewables, and nearly 14k new jobs in less than a year.
5.      David Cameron is delivering his first green speech as Prime Minister at the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) in London on 26 April 2012. The summit will be attended by Ministers from 23 leading economies and aims to promote policies and programmes that advance clean energy technology.
6.      Friends of the Earth’s Clean British Energy campaign, backed by Deborah Meaden, is urging the Government to listen to the public and transform our broken energy system by developing clean and affordable power from our wind, sun and water. For too long the Big Six energy companies have locked Britain into importing costly gas and coal – causing our fuel bills to rocket. Now 85 per cent of people want the Government to back UK renewable power instead. This, and cutting energy waste, will stabilise fuel bills and create new jobs. To find out more and back the campaign, visit www.cleanbritishenergy.co.uk.
7.      Friends of the Earth is supporting its campaign launch with a full-page advert in the FT today (Monday 23 April 2012) calling on Cameron to use his energy summit speech this week to back clean British energy for a prosperous and clean future for the UK.
8.      Last month, more than 30,000 backed Friends of the Earth’s Final Demand campaign for an end to the dominance of the Big Six energy firms and better support for clean British energy providers. For more information see www.foe.co.uk/finaldemand.

If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.

 

Published by Friends of the Earth Trust