GfK NOP poll for Friends of the Earth finds opposition to new UK nuclear power stations grows

March 21st, 2011 by Friends of the Earth

More than a third of British people (37 per cent) say they are now more likely to oppose replacement nuclear power stations in the UK following events in Japan in the last week, according to a new poll by GfK NOP for Friends of the Earth.

Almost half of the people surveyed (44 percent) said they are worried about the safety of UK nuclear plants with support for replacement nuclear power stations dropping compared to previous studies. Fewer than 10 per cent now believe nuclear should be the priority for energy investment in coming years.

More than 75 percent think the Government’s top energy investment priority should be either renewable energy or energy savings in homes, business and industry. Friends of the Earth is calling for the Government to create a safer energy future and is campaigning for a nationwide refit of British homes to help them save energy as part of the Government’s new Energy Bill.

Craig Bennett, Director of Policy and Campaigns for Friends of the Earth, said “The situation at the Japanese nuclear power station has added to the distress and suffering of the Japanese people following the tsunami.

“While the UK is not at risk of major earthquakes and tsunamis, our nuclear stations are vulnerable to sea surges, rising sea levels and terrorist attacks.

“We can keep the lights on and cut the UK’s reliance on oil and nuclear by building a safe and secure energy future based on cutting energy waste and harnessing our vast renewable power potential.

“This poll shows that the Government’s plans for a major expansion of nuclear power in the UK are out of step with public opinion.

“People want clean and safe energy – the Government needs to urgently refocus its energy policy, starting by improving the weak energy saving measures within its new Energy Bill.”

More than 11,000 people have signed Friends of the Earth’s new petition for a nuclear-free future based on renewable energy and energy saving.


GfK NOP carried out a nationally representative telephone omnibus survey amongst 1003 adults aged 16+.  Fieldwork was carried out 18th – 20th March, weighting was applied to the data to bring it in line with national profiles.

Research by Ipsos MORI for the Nuclear Industry Association in November 2010 saw 47 percent of people saying they supported, and 15 percent opposed, the building of replacement nuclear power stations – an increase on previous
years.  According to  GfK NOP’s new survey for Friends of the Earth, support has now dropped to 35 per cent and opposition has increased to 28 per cent.

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