A SURVEY on shale gas drilling has found strong support for continued exploration on the Fylde coast - but not everyone is convinced by the results.
Cuadrilla Resources, which owns drill sites at Singleton, Weeton and Westby, commissioned a questionnaire which found around twice as many people supported exploration as those who opposed it.
Interview group BritainThinks spoke to 1,000 people across Blackpool, Fylde and West Lancashire, with 44 per cent of respondents supporting continued exploration, a further 23 per cent opposing it and 33 per cent remaining undecided.
However, only 15 per cent of people admitted to knowing “a lot” about the subject, with 38 per cent saying they knew “a little” and nearly half saying they knew “very little” or “nothing” about the process.
The survey also found a third of interviewees admitted concerns about earth tremors, one of which occurred last year on the Fylde coast, while cheaper energy and jobs were believed to be the main advantages.
Cuadrilla Resources CEO Francis Egan said the results were encouraging.
He added: “I think the perception is very positive.
“We commissioned this to increase our understanding of local sentiments about shale gas. It’s clear that, while many people support our plans, others either haven’t made up their minds about or want more information.
“The only way we can earn community trust is through openly discussing all perspectives on shale gas, based on the facts.”
Tina Rothery, spokeswoman for Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, was dubious about the findings.
She said: “I would be very interested to know what questions were asked and how these were put across.
“The report mentions people believe benefits of the fracking process being cheaper energy and more jobs. Where have you heard of an energy company being cheap?
“People are right to be worried about earthquakes and water pollution but I would say we need to think about our children - we have to make decisions which don’t affect them in the future.”
Although the process is currently banned in the UK, shale gas extraction, or fracking, involves drilling thousands of metres into the earth to shoot water and chemicals underground and extract gas from cracking rock.