Birmingham Friends of the Earth Press Release

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 a patriotic 86 per cent of people in the Midlands would like to see the Government increasing the use of clean British energy and reducing the use of overseas gas.

In the week David Cameron delivers his first green speech as Prime Minister at an international energy summit in London, the YouGov poll reveals that the most of the public in the Midlands want their electricity to come from renewable energy from UK wind, solar, wave and tidal power.

When people in the Midlands were asked which specific sources of energy they would most like to see being used more in ten years’ time a massive 66 per cent of people opted for wind, solar or wave/tidal. Only two per cent would like to see more gas being used. Despite this, recent announcements from Ministers will trigger a new dash for gas that is likely to be met with foreign imports.

New research from the Renewable Energy Association shows that the West Midlands:

  • Employs over 9,300 people at 691 renewable energy technologies.
  • Is second only to London in numbers of people employed in the solar PV industry and biofuels for transport.

The region has also seen:

  • The Co-operative launch an Enterprise Hub in March 2012 to support renewable energy schemes in the region, with £1 million to help local community renewable energy schemes.
  • Forkers Ltd’s £3.5m contract for Wadlow wind farm which will lead to sub-contracts being offered to local businesses.
  • The West Midlands Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Programme helping local authorities to use the low carbon agenda to achieve cost reduction and create private and third sector low carbon jobs.
  • Community Energy Warwickshire adopting a new approach to local energy – a co-op which invests in renewable energy projects and helps local people to reduce their use of energy and save money.

Friends of the Earth’s poll of nearly 3,000 people marks the launch of its new Clean British Energy campaign, supported by Dragons’ Den star Deborah Meaden.

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.”

Birmingham Friends of the Earth’s lead campaigner on Energy and Climate Change, Robert Pass, said:

“The Government has a once-in-a-generation chance to wean Britain off costly fossil fuels with its Bill to reform the electricity market this year – we need better support for smaller businesses and community groups developing clean power from our wind, sun and sea.

“It’s what people in Birmingham want and it’s what people across the country want.”


Notes to editors

1. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2884 adults, of which 396 were from the Midlands. 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. A report to be launched tomorrow from British Renewable Energy – REA/Innovas ‘Renewable Energy: Made in Britain’, April 2012 – marks the first time that the turnover and employment figures of the entire UK renewables sector have been quantified and brought together in one place. The report launched on the eve of the Clean Energy Ministerial Summit finds that the UK renewables industry is worth £12.5 billion and supports 110,000 jobs, with 400,000 required to meet the 2020 renewables targets.

3. For more information on the Co-operative’s Enterprise hub, see here: and for more on the West Midlands Local Authority Low Carbon Economy Programme see here:

4. Currently, only 9.5 per cent of UK electricity comes from renewable energy sources:

5. 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 by the Pew Environment Group, ‘Who’s winning the clean energy race?’, which compares investment in clean energy by country:

6. 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:

7. 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 G20 Ministers and aims to promote policies and programmes that advance clean energy technology. For more information see:

8. Friends of the Earth’s Clean British Energy campaign is urging the Government to transform our energy system by developing clean and affordable power from our wind, sun and water. To find out more and back the campaign, visit (goes live on Monday 23 April 2012).