Locals welcome shale exploration

A survey commissioned by the British drilling company, Cuadrilla Resources, suggests that residents in Lancashire are beginning to support the continued exploration of shale gas in their local area.

The research from the thinktank BritainThinks, follows the recent announcement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) that a ban on hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in the UK would be lifted

Based on a survey conducted using random digit dial (RDD) methodology, Fylde, Blackpool and West Lancashire residents were better informed and more supportive of hydraulic fracturing than they had been three months ago.

Having answered questions on both the potential disadvantages and the potential benefits of fracking, 50% of respondents said they supported continued exploration in the area – an increase of 6% from October.

In addition, 50% of respondents said they “strongly supported” or “supported” continued exploration whereas just 25% said they “strongly opposed” or “opposed” continued exploration.

According to the research, public awareness of the Government’s decision to resume fracking was high, with 74% of the respondents claiming they knew of the announcement.

Compared with similar research conducted in October, job creation was seen as the most important of the potential benefits tested, with 32% choosing it compared with 25% in October.

64% of respondents felt much or a little more supportive of continued exploration in their area due to the regulatory requirements around monitoring and reporting, including the ‘traffic light’ system for detecting any low level of seismicity.

Asked to rate the single most important disadvantage, 30% of respondents selected risk of earth tremors and 25% chose the risk of water pollution – an increase of 3% since October.

The risk of a negative impact on climate change was cited by 9% – up from 6% in October.

Conor McGlone

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