One fifth of Brits back fracking, Government survey reveals

Public support for fracking has dropped to an all-time low, as new Government figures show a clear link between education about fracking and opposition to the technology.

The latest version of DECC’s quarterly public attitudes survey found that just 21% of 2,118 UK households support fracking – the lowest percentage ever.

By contrast, 28% opposed the technology, while 49% said they neither supported or opposed fracking.

The figures support the idea that opposition to fracking is linked to awareness. Amongst those who knew a lot about it, 54% opposed it, while 32% supported it. Conversely, among people who hadn’t heard of fracking before the survey, 12% supported it and 7% opposed it.

Reacting to the new figures, Friends of the Earth senior energy campaigner Donna Hume said: “It’s little surprise that the more people find out about the risks of fracking, the more they oppose it. 

“Instead of blindly championing dirty fracking, the Government should throw its weight behind the UK’s huge clean energy potential, which is far more popular with the public – and give David Cameron a much-needed credibility boost ahead of this year’s climate talks in Paris.” 

Preferential treatment

Public opinion on clean energy held steady from previous surveys, with 75% supporting renewables and just 4% opposing them.

Greenpeace UK head of energy Daisy Sands said the figures represented a public mandate for the support of the renewables sector

Sands said: “The Government’s own survey shows ministers’ priorities on energy are at the polar opposite of what the British public wants. Popular technologies like wind and solar are having their support axed, whilst the more unpopular than ever fracking industry keeps getting preferential treatment.

“It’s becoming quite clear that people are seeing through the smokescreen of propaganda and spin created by the shale lobby and their minister friends. As the government is poised to auction off huge chunks of Britain to the frackers, energy companies will be likely to hit the same wall of local opposition that has stopped Cuadrilla in Lancashire.” 

The results of this survey come at a crucial point, as Nottinghamshire County Council awaits a planning application from Igas Energy Ltd, which wants to extract shale gas from land near the north Bassetlaw village of Misson. Community action groups have already set up in Misson, pledging to protest the application.

Brad Allen

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