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Why wording of the questions has made green lobby’s polls on wind power misleading and meaningless

From your article, it would seem that much is made by green NGOs and associates of the value of their opinion polling (“Green energy: Wind of change or hot air?”, The Herald, April 24.

Generally the question is framed to get the answer the organisation wants. And asking a simple, straight question does not permit the introduction of the surrounding complications of generating policy.

Scottish Renewables and Friends of the Earth Scotland are very far from being neutral organisations in this debate and will ensure that they get the answer they can use as propaganda.

I notice that neither in their polling question referred to cost or the uncertainties of generation nor the enormous land and sea surface required or the landscape damage inflicted by all of these. And of course no mention of shale gas resources. I am sure the poll would have given a very different answer if the question had been framed: do you support wind power or renewables generation that will result in your electricity bills rising two-fold to provide enormous unearned subsidies to large wealthy landowners and foreign companies and ensure that much of Scotland’s wilderness will be covered in wind turbines?

With large deposits of cheap shale gas in England, a separated Scotland will be unable to sell its highly expensive renewables and wind generated electricity anywhere. Polls are meaningless unless the pollster has first provided a discussion of the ins and outs of any eventual question.

Professor Anthony Trewavas FRS FRSE,

27 Croft Street,

Penicuik.