Home / Grand Challenges / Hazard Evaluation & Risk / UK public want to move from fossil fuels to renewables


A majority of the British public support a move to a fairer, cleaner, more efficient energy system, according to results from a recent C3W study.. The research was lead by Nick Pidgeon, C3W’s head of the Human Dimensions of Climate Change cluster, and involved 2,441 participants from across England, Scotland and Wales.

Transforming the UK energy system – public values, attitudes and acceptability was funded by the UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) with the research carried out by a team from the University’ of Cardiff’s School of Psychology, Welsh School of Architecture and School of Engineering.

Professor Pidgeon said: “Our participants saw the bigger picture of energy system transformation, and they were overwhelmingly committed to moving away from fossil fuels towards renewable forms of energy production and to lowering energy demand.”

PreviewScreenSnapz001The research shows the public favours changes to the energy system that would:

  • be energy efficient rather than wasteful;
  • protect the environment and nature;
  • be reliable, accessible and safe;
  • allow consumers a certain amount of autonomy and power;
  • be socially just and fair;
  • improve on what has gone before;
  • score well in terms of quality and performance; and,
  • fit with a long-term, sustainable trajectory, rather than being just a short-term fix.

“Our research has shown clearly that people are more likely to accept changes that show signs of commitment to their underlying values, such as energy system components that are clean, efficient, fair and safe.

“The public is also keen for policy makers to clarify how current changes to the energy system fit with longer-term plans, and to develop an intelligible and coherent strategy for this,” Professor Pidgeon added.

Download a full copy of the  UKERC Synthesis Report