Public support for fracking continues to drop

Public support for the extraction and use of shale gas has dropped significantly over the last year, according to a survey by the University of Nottingham.

According to the University’s annual shale gas survey, just one in 10 (10.4%) people support fracking, compared to 21% last year and 39.5% in July 2013.

The risk of water contamination was one of the major concerns for those surveyed.

The survey found that the number of people who associated shale gas with water contamination had risen to 48 per cent – the highest level since the survey began.

Professor Sarah O'Hara from the School of Geography at the University and co-director of the Shale Gas Survey said: “The drop in support for shale gas over the last 12 months suggests that concerns about the perceived environmental impacts of shale gas are beginning to outweigh the possible economic benefits.

“This drop is driven largely by women firming up their view on this issue and becoming increasingly opposed to shale gas. If the Government pushes forwarded with its plans to fast track shale gas developments, it must be prepared for significant levels of opposition from grass roots activists.”

A spokesman for the trade group UKOOG, which represents the onshore oil and gas industry, said: ‘The report indicates we have been successful in banishing the myths around earthquakes. However the industry is aware we have a great deal of work to do to reassure the public about fears generated by other misinformation and to demonstrate the UK’s excellent regulation that protects water supplies in particular, and local communities in general.” 

Jamie Hailstone is a freelance journalist and author, specializing in local government, transport and energy issues