Energy sector leaders have said they are struggling to get their “single voice” heard by the public because stories about harmony don’t sell newspapers.
Deirdre Michie, chief executive of Oil and Gas UK, said: “This is something we grapple with all the time. Why are we not getting our message out? Why do people on the street not understand what industry is about?
“We are making progress with government. I think government is well educated about who we are and what we’re trying to achieve.
“At risk of presenting the UK Government’s industrial strategy as the panacea of all our woes, I think that is the opportunity to continue to put our integrated approach forward.
“The challenge is that people are not interested in good news, and that comes back to who we all are. Are you going to pick up a paper that’s got a lovely collaborative story on it or are you going to pick up one that’s got a bit of scandal on it? I know which one I’d go for.”
Ken Cronin, chief executive of UK Onshore Oil and Gas, said it was important not to allow the debate around energy transition to become polarised, but accepted “Industry Leaders Agree” is not a “sexy” headline.
Hugh McNeal, chief executive of RenewableUK, said: “The idea in the current climate with social media that you can sell a soft story about collaboration is pretty tough.
“It does not play in the current media environment. People want conflict and disagreement.”
Tom Greatrex, chief executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, said: “We all have to think about how to best project what we are doing in a way that is not about denigrating something else.
“We have to hope we can cut through the heat to get across the reality of where we are.”
He said maligning other forms of technology would not help anyone address the issue of how the UK can meet residential and industrial electricity demand.