In DECC’s quarterly review of public opinions of various energy sources, 53% of those who said they knew a lot about fracking were against it, compared to a third (33%) who said they were in favour of it.

“Support for fracking appears to be linked to awareness,” reads DECC’s summary of the findings. Among those who thought they knew a little about it, opposition outstripped support by 35% to 27%.

The survey also included questions about reasons for opposition to fracking for the first time, with 61% saying they opposed it because of concerns about destruction of the natural environment. Another 32% of people were concerned about contamination of the water supply.

Despite the opposition to the process, the Government has stayed consistent in its support.

A DECC spokesperson said: “There is no question that we need natural gas in the UK, and this research shows that people do not want to rely on other countries for it.

“That is why we need to secure our own domestic gas supplies. If just 10% of the estimated gas in shale rock could be recovered, it would be enough to meet our energy demand for almost 40 years.

“We are encouraging safe exploration of shale gas so we can know for certain how much is there and how much we can get out of the ground.”

Upside down

Support for renewables has remained strong throughout the survey history, with 75% backing the use of solar, wind, biomass etc, compared to just 4% who oppose these technologies.

Commenting on the survey, Greenpeace UK chief scientist Doug Parr said: “If you take a UK ranking of energy sources by popularity and turn it upside down, you have a list of this government’s energy priorities. There’s a growing gulf between what the public wants for our energy future and what our ministers are imposing, and the cheaper clean technologies become, the wider the chasm will grow.

“It’s no surprise that ministers hatched a plan to strip local councils of their powers to decide on fracking in order to push through their controversial plans.

“If the Government doesn’t want to listen to experts and its own advisers about energy, it should at least listen to what the country has to say.”

Brad Allen

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