1. Identify the paper
Pick a paper to write to - perhaps one you read regularly or particularly like.
2. Write your letter
Remember our media analysis showed that the written press are out of touch with the UK public on onshore wind. By writing to them we can bring them up to speed, and help rebalance the debate. Here’s three key things you could mention.
1. The UK press is out of touch with the public on onshore wind
New research by Sandra Bernick at Imperial College London and climate charity 10:10 has revealed that the UK’s print press is out of touch with the UK public on attitudes to onshore wind.
The research found that between 2011-2016 there were two and a half times as many negative editorial and comment pieces penned as positive ones. It also found that for every one positive argument used for onshore wind, there were four negative used against.
This is despite new polling carried out by 10:10 and ComRes showing public support for onshore wind farms is 73% - twice the level of support for fracking. The negative way the press report wind could explain why the same poll found that average perceived public support for onshore wind was 42%, almost half its actual level.
2. Onshore wind powers ahead in the energy price race - but government is blocking the way
Wind is the cheapest form of low carbon technology, bar none. When taking into account carbon costs (i.e the cost of climate change and all it’s impacts) wind is the cheapest of all energy generation, including fossil fuels - according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. By 2020 it is likely to be cheaper than new gas power stations on any measure. Add this to the fact that the UK is Europe’s windiest nation and the argument for clean onshore wind power really starts to add up.
However, the government has removed financial support for onshore wind, despite continuing to hand hundreds of millions to coal, gas and diesel generators through the ‘capacity market’. It’s not fair that onshore wind is hung out to dry while dirty fossil fuels remain supported.
3. Wind power is a great British success story
The proportion of UK electricity provided by onshore wind has trebled since 2010 to 6% in 2015. Add offshore wind into the mix and wind power provides at least 11% . In 2016 Scotland reached a new milestone - over 24 hours it met 100% of its electricity demand from wind. Clean wind power has most certainly moved from the margins into the mainstream of the UK’s energy system - and it is something we should be proud of, economically and environmentally. The UK ranks 6th in the world wind rankings and £400m was invested in onshore wind alone in 2015, building on the UK's status as the second largest market globally for wind in 2014. Just when we were really starting to get going, government has pulled the plug. When you consider all the benefits, this just doesn’t make sense.
3. Send it off
The letters page of your chosen paper will have an email address or postal address you can use. You're looking for something like: letters@[the name of the paper].co.uk.
If you can't find it, head to their website. There should be a Contact Us page (usually in the footer of the site) where the email address for the letters page will be listed. If there's no letters address, the editor is your best bet.