What we’ve been doing up to October 2011


We attended Hanwell Carnival in June, as well as joining Hounslow and Brentford FoE at Osterley Day and a couple of smaller events in July and then at Brentford Festival in September.  The weather wasn’t altogether friendly. At Hanwell Carnival we experienced brilliant sunshine, torrential rain, gale force winds and even hail (not all at once), and there were two hours solid downpour at Brentford Festival.


Our main focus this summer was to find out people’s views on energy by getting them to fill in their answers to three short questions in FoE’s “Plug us in to what you think” questionnaire.


The first asked them to choose from a number of options what they thought was the most important issue facing the UK today.  Nearly twenty per cent of people chose the price of energy and fuel, with rather fewer opting for dependence on imported oil and gas. There was less concern about the availability and supply of oil and gas and the safety of nuclear power plants: about ten per cent ticked these. However, about forty-five per cent thought that the impact of our energy system on climate change was most important.


Next, they were asked where they thought the UK should invest in the coming decades to keep the lights on and reduce dependency on oil. Here, well over half those questioned were in favour of investment in renewable energy.  Another twenty-five percent thought that priority should be given to making energy savings in homes, business and industry.  Just a few chose capturing carbon pollution from coal and gas plants, and a very small number wanted investment in nuclear power.


The final question asked whether they thought that more green energy should be generated locally, for example through solar panels on roofs or wind farms owned by councils and communities. The answer was a resounding Yes.


These questionnaires were a useful lead in to conversations about all aspects of energy use. One woman mentioned that she had bought an energy monitor. We asked her if this had led her to make any changes. “Yes,” she said, “I got rid of my tumble dryer straight away!”


FoE is using the responses from this activity to help shape its new campaign for a safe and affordable energy future. We’ll be hearing about this very soon.