Respondents have consistently supported government-led action to tackle greenhouse gas emissions. In 2017, over half of respondents (58%) thought that the government should do more to reduce emissions, with only 6% believing that the government should reduce efforts to lower emissions.
Support for producing bioenergy from both biomass and waste has been consistently strong across all three surveys with the highest levels of support recorded in the most recent survey. Across the three surveys between 72% and 77% of respondents supported the use of biomass, and 81-84% supported the use of waste for bioenergy production.
Bioenergy is associated with several positive features. The ability to generate energy from waste has consistently been the positive feature most selected by respondents. The ETI’s broader analysis highlights the importance of using waste feedstocks effectively to deliver emissions savings. In order to help achieve this, the ETI is investing in a 1.5 MWe waste gasifi cation demonstration plant with syngas clean-up.
In all three surveys, competition for land and having to import biomass because not enough is produced in the UK have been perceived by respondents as the main negative features of bioenergy. Our 2016 report explored these views in more detail and concluded that using a mix of imported and domestic feedstocks could be publically acceptable, such that the UK is not overly reliant on imports and can maintain at least current levels of food self-sufficiency
The government has consistently been the most popular choice to lead the development of the bioenergy sector, but a greater number of respondents trust scientists/academics or experts in the field, independent consumer or industry watchdogs, and environmental interest groups to provide reliable information on the sector. This suggests it will be crucial for different groups to work together to increase awareness and understanding of bioenergy while developing the sector in the UK.