Infrastructure to benefit Britain?

January 26, 2012, 5:27 PM UTC

19% Britons say nuclear power best investment; 2% say Crossrail, 3% Thames Estuary airport

Only very small percentages of the British public think that the London Crossrail train project or a new airport on the Thames Estuary represent the 'best investment' for Britain.

In light of recent controversy surrounding various industrial proposals, we gave the public a list of current or potential infrastructure investments and asked them to choose which they thought would be 'best for Britain'. Nuclear power stations, new offshore wind farms and rolling super-fast broadband into rural areas won out as the most popular options; with Crossrail, a third runway at Heathrow airport, and a new airport in the Thames Estuary being the least popular.

  • 19% said that nuclear power stations would be the 'best' investment
  • 16% said offshore wind farms
  • 13% said superfast broadband in rural areas
  • Only 4% say the proposed new airport on the Thames Estuary would be a 'best'
  • Similarly, 3% chose a new airport outside the South East of England, and another 3% thought a new runway at Heathrow
  • The Crossrail scheme received the least votes for 'best investment' with just 2%
  • 13% said that none of the projects listed should be considered 'best'

The BBC has reported that critics of the on-going Crossrail project fear that spiralling costs 'will see funding slashed for other key transport and infrastructure initiatives', but Crossrail's Keith Berryman argues that the scheme promises to ease congestion and travel costs as well as create thousands of additional jobs in London's business centres and in the West End and London's Docklands. Other less-than-popular options included the proposed but controversial Thames Estuary airport, for which London Mayor Boris Johnson is a supporter and which is set to go to consultation this March.

Other recent initiatives were voted more favourably by the public in this case, including the idea of building new nuclear power stations and wind farms, as the Government's new 'Carbon Plan' argues that increasing the number of wind farms and tripling the UK’s nuclear power would be the cheapest and cleanest way for the country to tackle climate change by reducing emissions. Building of nuclear power stations is due to begin in 2018.

However, this is not without controversy; protesters have protested against the nuclear power station plans, fuelled by concerns over the lack of safety and other high risk factors involved, which some argue have become ever more relevant in the wake of a recent explosion at a waste processing plant in France as well as the Fukushima disaster in Japan last year.

See the survey details and full results here (page 6)