19th May 2014
A new opinion poll has found that people are much more likely to oppose fracking in their own back yards – and especially under it.
The poll, by Opinion Research, found more people were against fracking than in favour. But the closer fracking got, the more opposition rose. Nearly half of those questioned were against fracking near their home and over half were against any drilling under their land.
James Endersby, of Opinion Research, told a fracking conference this morning that shale gas drilling was the least attractive of any energy generating fuel. According to the poll, 37% were against fracking in general, compared with 25% of people in favour.
But when asked what people thought about shale gas drilling near their home, he said 45% were against and 19% were in favour. And when asked what they thought about drilling under their home, the proportion against rose to 57% against, compared with 21% in favour.
These findings could be politically significant as the government considers changing the trespass laws to make it easier for shale companies to drill under homes without needing permission. The government is also planning to sell a large number of oil and gas licences by the end of this year, opening up new areas of the country to onshore exploration and production.
According to the poll, people who said they were neither in favour nor against was about the same for all three questions, at about 28%. The figure for “don’t knows” was also standard for each question, at about 9%.
Mr Endersby said when asked about the benefits of shale gas, supporters most often said reducing foreign dependency (92%) and job creation (88%).
Opponents of shale gas thought the threats of shale gas included damage to the local environment (79%), noise and disruption (77%) and contamination of local water (69%).
When asked to weigh the benefits and risks, 32% thought risks outweighed benefits, 19% thought benefits outweighs risks and 19% thought benefits and risks were balanced. The rest (30%) didn’t know or were not sure.
When asked if local environment would be better or worse off as a result of shale gas, 30% said worse off, 16% said better off and 29% said neither better nor worse off. The rest (25%) didn’t know or were unsure.
The survey also asked people what would make them more likely to support shale gas. 47% said evidence that there would be no serious harm to ground water and environment and 23% said money for local authorities.
Opinion Research interviewed more than 2,000 people earlier this month.