By Rory Reynolds
A TOP energy adviser has blasted the British public for holding back urgent new green developments in the UK.
Professor David McKay – who says that the British public are “anti-everything” – argues that the large-scale construction of huge renewable power plants is being held back by lack of public support.
McKay – who is to become chief scientific advisor to the Department of Energy next month – warned that “we have a serious building programme on our hands”.
He said: “We have got a big problem on our hands – that the public is anti-everything.
“There is a strong anti-wind movement, a strong anti-nuclear movement, they are against a barrage in the Severn estuary, they are against waste incinerators and they are not that keen on electric cars and insulating their houses.“We have got to stop saying no to these things.”
McKay – who is professor of natural philosophy in the Physics department at Cambridge University – lays out his warnings in his new book, Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air.
He adds that people are kidding themselves if they think switching off phone chargers will make a difference.
He says: “I think people need to understand the numbers – what worries me about the phone charger recommendation is it might give people the feeling they have done something substantial.
“People need to know it’s just one 10,000th of their consumption, and if they really want to be making a difference, they need to be looking at bigger items.”
However, environmental groups have said that Scotland does not have the energy problems that are being faced south of the border.
They also argue that Scotland can survive without new nuclear power stations, which the Scottish Government has opposed.
Dr Richard Dixon, director of WWF Scotland said: “Public opposition is a bit of an issue but far less than elsewhere.
“We have far more space to find appropriate places for wind farms that people are relaxed about.”
He added that 20 per cent of Scotland’s electricity comes from renewable energy plants already, while the figure UK-wide is just four per cent.
Duncan McLaren, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said Scotland is better prepared for the move towards green technology.
He said: “The Public in Scotland is more grown-up about wind farms and the Scottish Government has rejected the most intrusive plans.”