Guide: how to write to a newspaper

One way you can show your support for onshore wind is by writing to the press, nationally or locally. As our media analysis shows, national press often focuses on the perceived negatives of wind power rather than the benefits - so we need to rebalance the debate. And local papers are important for highlighting the potential onshore wind holds for communities around the country.

If you've never done it before, here's a quick guide to how to write to a newspaper.

If your letter gets published or you get a decent reply, please let us know! Email us on hello@1010uk.org or Tweet us @1010

 

Local paper

1. Identify the paper

If you want to write to your local paper go for the one that gets delivered to you for free. If you don't get one, have a look at this site that lists the local papers in different UK regions and find the one nearest you. 

2. Write your letter

Write them an email (or letter) letting them know you love wind and why. To help you, below are three key points we think are worth mentioning:

1. Public support for wind is sky high!

Latest polling from 10:10 and ComRes shows support for onshore wind is huge! 73% of the UK public support onshore wind.  In rural areas support is still over two thirds. What’s more, polling carried out by Co-op Energy found 52% of the public would support a wind turbine within two miles of their home.

2. Wind powers ahead in the energy price race

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 its 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.

3. Locally owned wind is good for communities

It has the potential to provide investment for local communities around the country. A wind farm recently given the go ahead in the Scottish highlands is expected to bring £9 million to the community through jobs, local investment and cost savings. This could be replicated across the country, bringing a welcome boost to many local economies. Unfortunately though, only 10 community energy schemes were registered in 2016, down from 76 in 2015. Communities are keen to make community energy work though. Research completed by Cooperative Energy this year states that 78% of the public think Government should do more to help local community groups generate their own energy, with profits staying in the area.

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. 

 

National paper

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.