'Opposition to fracking on the increase'

Cuadrilla's site at Preston New Road
Cuadrilla's site at Preston New Road
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Public opposition to fracking is on the rise, according to a new report.

The finding forms part of the government’s latest Energy and Climate Change Public Attitudes Tracker survey.

This latest polling shows record public opposition to fracking of 40 per cent - its highest yet, with support for the shale gas extraction at its lowest ever at only 12 per cent.

Exploration company Cuadrilla is already fracking at its site in Preston New Road, Little Plumpton, near Blackpool.

The BEIS report into public attitudes on energy and climate change is a quarterly series of polls, asking questions about energy and climate change, which began in March 2012 and has asked about attitudes towards shale gas specifically, since December 2013.

The percentage of people neither supporting nor opposing has remained fairly constant at around 45 per cent.

A spokesman for Frack Free Lancashire said: "The results are indicative of the battle the shale gas industry has faced since appearing in communities where they are not wanted.

"The long-term trends are clear: fracking is continuously and increasingly failing to win the support of communities, in spite of the intensive greenwashing efforts by the industry.

"Support for renewable energy remains high, with 84 per cent of respondents polled expressing support, and with strong support surging from 30 per cent to 37 per cent.

"With the damning report by the IPCC released last month, urgent global action to decarbonise is now needed. This also means there is no need or room for a new dirty new fossil fuel industry like fracking.

“We require urgent political action on climate change and investment on clean energy sources if we are to mitigate the impending impacts of climate change.”

Supporters of fracking say it can create an economic boom.

Opponents claim it can cause earth tremors, water pollution and traffic nuisance.

Rowland Wright, external affairs director at Cuadrilla, said: “It is disappointing to see the latest data. We’re based in Lancashire and lots of our staff live nearby so, for us, it just doesn’t reflect the continued and strengthening support that we see every day from local people.

“There is clear support for our operations and for all the benefits that shale gas exploration can bring to the county and the UK as a whole if a new industry is established.

"There is an estimated 1,300 trillion cubic feet of natural gas beneath our feet and people do recognise that it can help tackle emissions by reducing imports shipped in from around the world, as well as creating jobs and revenue. More to the point, most people are hooked up to gas and will continue to need and use it to heat their homes and food. Getting it from a local source makes sense for them too.

“There is no doubt that huge amounts of highly emotional misinformation and purposefully misleading facts are shared about what we are doing and how the extraction process works.

"We would encourage people to look at the facts to see that the scare mongering and horror stories are in direct contrast to the safe and responsible systems in place at Preston New Road.”