Report says shale support has fallen to low

Anti-fracking protesters celebrate outside Lancashire County Hall after Cuadrilla's fracking application is refused.
Anti-fracking protesters celebrate outside Lancashire County Hall after Cuadrilla's fracking application is refused.
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Support for controversial fracking has fallen to 21 per cent, according to an official Government survey.

Only a fifth of people (21 per cent) back extracting shale gas for use in the UK, the lowest level of support since the quarterly public attitudes survey by the Department of Energy and Climate Change first quizzed people on the issue in December 2013.

The Government’s own survey shows ministers’ priorities on energy are at the polar opposite of what the British public wants

Daisy Sands

Cuadrilla is in the process of appealing against refusal of permission to carry out test fracking at two Fylde sites – Preston New Road and Roseacre.

Overall, 28 per cent of people opposed fracking, with 46 per cent expressing no opinion either way, the survey of 2,118 UK households found.

But the level of opposition was higher among people who said they knew about fracking, with 54 per cent of those who know a lot about the process opposing it, compared to 32 per cent backing it.

Support for nuclear power has also fallen to the lowest levels seen in the survey, which began in 2012, with just a third (33 per cent) of people backing it.

But support for renewables remains very high, with three quarters of those quizzed backing their use, though the proportion of people expressing strong support for renewables was at its lowest since the survey began, at just under a quarter (24 per cent).

Greenpeace UK head of energy Daisy 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, while the more unpopular than ever fracking industry keeps getting preferential treatment.”

She suggested energy companies seeking to frack for shale gas around the UK would hit the same “wall of opposition” that saw the two proposed sites in Lancashire turned down.