Media polls show majority opposed to fracking

6th March 2014

Polls by a BBC TV programme and a regional newspaper both recorded a majority against fracking, but with very different margins.

The Manchester Evening News reported today that 73 per cent of people in the main Greater Manchester postcodes who responded to its poll were against fracking. The majority was highest, at 76 per cent, in the Manchester and Salford areas. Igas is currently exploring for gas at Barton Moss in Salford. Opposition was lowest, at 61 per cent, in and around Stockport.

The paper reported that support for fracking was higher among older people (27 per cent of 61-70 year olds were in favour, compared with 13 per cent of people aged 41-50). Women were more likely to oppose fracking than men (89 per cent, compared with 68 per cent).

The survey was completed online by more than 2,500 people in the Greater Manchester region, and a further 1,200 people across the country. Respondents were self-selecting and the poll did not claim to be statistically significant.

Last night’s The One Show on BBC 1 asked viewers to vote during the programme on the motion “If your community benefitted financially would you be in favour of fracking in your area?” 47 per cent voted yes and 53 per cent voted no. The poll was conducted online and by text and, like the newspaper poll, did not claim to be statistically significant. The result did not include the total number who took part and we’re waiting for information on this from the BBC Press Office.

The BBC poll followed a five-minute film about fracking, in which eight people from Lancashire discussed fracking with Francis Egan, chief executive of Cuadrilla, and Helen Rimmer, of Friends of the Earth. Cuadrilla holds the Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence around Blackpool  and is planning to drill four wells at two sites in the area.

At the start of the film, six people were undecided and two were in favour. By the end, one was against, two undecided and five in favour. The UK Onshore Operators’ Group, a trade body representing the fracking industry, tweeted “Cuadrilla CEO wins over Lancashire residents (and Ruby Wax)” [a guest on the show].

  • Delegates to yesterday’s Shale UK conference were asked to complete the same questions as respondents to the ongoing Nottingham University research into public attitudes to fracking. The survey aims to look at how attitudes among industry and academics compare with those of the public. The first results will released in June.
  • A poll of Balcombe villagers found a majority of respondents opposed to hydrocarbon exploration, whether or not it involved fracking. The Department of Energy and Climate Change found 27 per cent supported shale gas to generate heat and electricity, compared with 21 per cent who oppose and 48 per cent who were undecided. Nottingham University’s latest research found a majority in favour of shale gas but support was continuing fall.

Balcombe village poll result

Public attitudes survey for Department of Energy and Climate Change

Nottingham University public attitudes survey – latest research

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