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Who’s joining the debate?

This past week has seen numerous high profile news stories about wind power in the UK.

As a nation, do we love it, hate it, or are we indifferent?

The real question for us at Consense is who gets involved in this debate, and how?

An Ipsos MORI poll, commissioned by RenewableUK and published yesterday, has shown that of 1009 people polled online 67% are in favour of wind power. Further to this, 57% find the look of wind farms on the landscape acceptable, countering a common argument against wind power.

On the other side of the fence is the NOW campaign (National Opposition to Windpower) which is to be launched at an event at the Houses of Parliament hosted by Lib Dem peer Lord Carlile. The groups aims are clear: ‘to oppose windfarms by tackling policy’.

So, as with every major issue facing society today, we witness opinion from each end of the energy debate spectrum, each fighting their own corner across the front pages, and homepages, of our news and media.

If this media was to delve a little deeper into who is expressing these opinions, I expect the results would be very interesting. Is the MORI poll, which was conducted online, sound evidence of a silent majority coming forward to support a cause that they would normally not voice their opinion on? Similarly, are those involved in the NOW campaign representative of society, or are they simply more vocal?

We have for a long time been advocates of online engagement as a medium for reaching as broad an audience as possible. Looking at the way people get involved in surveys and campaigns gives a useful insight into the variety of methods we can use to engage the community in debate and consultation. We will continue to track the media coverage with interest to see how the debate evolves…

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