Majority of residents oppose fracking in a second Cheshire village


A majority of adults in a Cheshire village where IGas has bought land for shale exploration think fracking would be a bad thing, according to a new survey.

The research found 81.7% of people who responded to a questionnaire in Mickle Trafford near Chester were against fracking. 6.5% said they believed fracking would be a good thing. 11.8% did not know or did not have an opinion.

This is the second Cheshire village to oppose fracking in a survey in recent months. In May, a survey in nearby Guilden Sutton found that 76.3% of respondents believed fracking would be a bad thing, compared with 9.2% who thought it would be a good thing and 14.5% who did not know. (see summary at the end of this post)

Both villages are in the exploration licence area PEDL189, held by IGas and INEOS Upstream.

Seismic surveying has been carried out in both villages recently to help determine the viability of shale gas extraction.

In April this year, it emerged that an IGas subsidiary, Star Energy, had bought a plot of land in Mickle Trafford, at the junction of Warrington Road and Ince Lane in Bridge Trafford. It had also leased another site nearby, on Morley Lane. Neither Star Energy nor IGas has submitted planning applications for either site.

In February, IGas announced it was pulling out of a potential coal bed methane site near Mickle Trafford at Salters Lane, Picton. That planning permission expired on 10 September.

More survey details


According to the Mickle Trafford survey results, women respondents were slightly more opposed to fracking than men (84.4% to 80.1%).

Respondents in middle age groups were more likely to oppose fracking. Respondents aged 18-24 and 75+ were more likely to say don’t know or they didn’t have an opinion.

The survey was carried out by Fusion Data Science for the Frack Free Mickle Trafford (FFMT) residents’ group.

FFMT said the reason for the survey was to provide a better understanding of the views of local residents.

Every household in Mickle Trafford and district parish area was sent a questionnaire and letter about the survey.

According to the results, 64% of households and 63% of adults in the parish took part.

When expressed as proportion of the total adult population of Mickle Trafford,

  • 4.1% of respondents thought fracking would be a good thing
  • 51.7% thought fracking would be a bad thing
  • 7.5% didn’t know or didn’t have an opinion
  • 37.7% did not respond to the survey



The findings have been sent to Mickle Trafford Parish Council, members of Cheshire West and Chester Council and the local MP, Labour’s Justin Madders, who represents Ellesmere Port and Neston.

FFMT said it was not making a statement about the results at this stage but urged the parish council to take the survey into account when it considers any planning application for fracking.

We asked IGas for a comment and will update this post if the company chooses to respond.


The report said 924 questionnaires were distributed. Questionnaires were collected in sealed envelopes or returned in a “drop box” in the village post office.

591 completed questionnaires were received. Of those 20 were spoiled or ambiguous. The 571 valid questionnaires indicated the views of 1,131 local adult residents out of a total population of 1,788.

Returned questionnaires were counted on Saturday 13 August. The count was supervised by Fusion Data Science and the local county councillor. Each questionnaire was verified by two people before the responses were recorded.

Key findings from Guilden Sutton survey

  • 68.2% of local households and 75.6% of adults responded to the survey
  • 9.2% of respondents believed fracking would be a good thing for the area
  • 76.3% of respondents believed fracking would be a bad thing for the area
  • 14.5% of respondents didn’t know if fracking would be good or bad for the area
  • Women tended to be more opposed to fracking (80.5% of respondents) compared with 73% for males
  • Younger people tended to be more opposed to fracking (90.3% of respondents aged 18-24) compared with 70.3% of those aged 75+.


Mickle Trafford survey report

Guilden Sutton survey report

10 replies »

  1. Few people respond favorably to the idea of any industrial infrastructure being constructed in their neighborhood. Have you ever seen a community rally to support new high voltage electrical lines? What about a new chemical processing plant? Are sewage treatment plants usually popular?

    Because a project is not popular, should it not be undertaken? If so, then should no more airports and chemical plants ever be built? Or should they always be built “somewhere else?”

    I do not believe the UK’s energy policy should be dictated by the results from a popularity contest. Not only are these popularity contests manipulated by the frearmongering of anti-frackers, but following what’s popular will lead the UK down a very dark road (pardon the pun).

    Solar and wind are ever so much more popular than oil and gas. Does this mean that the UK should abandon oil and gas? It’s fairly hypocritical to depend on fracked oil and gas from overseas to replace what could be extracted in the UK. Not only hypocritical, but it’s expensive, and it makes the UK dependent on foreign countries for its energy. If we’re honest about the way we interpret the polling then the UK should not buy fracked oil and gas from anywhere since the people don’t like fracking. The issue is that much of the world’s supply of gas available for import is coming from fracked fields. So, it would be best to stop importing gas. Of course, that is going to lead to some very cold homes in winter and sharply increased mortality rates.

    These polls fail to capture the complexities involved in decisions around energy policy. My guess is that the good people of Cheshire would have responded differently if they were given a choice between fracking with its attendant low heating costs, minimal footprint, and dependable power versus having thousands of wind turbines installed in the area, higher power bills, and a backup fossil fuel plant built down the street (which is going to have to run on something).

    Like most industrial projects, fracking will never be popular, but taking away access to fracking’s end product will be even more unpopular (and deadly). So, be careful what you wish for!

    • ‘ Does this mean that the UK should abandon oil and gas?’

      Once again we see the increasingly desperate attempts by the pro frackers to avoid mentioning that we already produce our own gas from the North sea and have done for decades. So here we go again.

      2014-BP statistics review of world energy 2015

      Britain produced 3500 thousand cubic feet per day (mmscfds). Home grown and supporting over 375,000 jobs.We also exported home grown gas.
      Britain consumed 6500 mmscfds
      Britain Imported (average) 1100 mmscfd in the form of LNG
      Britain imported (net average) 2200 mmscfd through pipelines
      79% from Norway (our long term secure energy partners)
      20% from Netherlands
      1% from other sources

      The future of shale has been debated by the House of Lords Energy Select Committee. The overall conclusion was that North Sea gas is
      being crippled through the current tax regime and wind fall taxes when there are no wind falls. Production taxes of between 60% and 80% whilst shale is being offered 30%.
      Offer 30% to our long established Mighty North Sea Industry and output will increase, new investment will open up new fields and our other 40,000 plus skilled offshore workers who have been laid off through the crippling tax regime will get back to work.

      I think you will find nearly everyone in the country would choose to maximise our North Sea reserves and build up renewable s as fast as possible

      ‘fracking with its attendant low heating costs, minimal footprint’ is of course total nonsense. UK shale extraction prices are stated by numerous experts as high and peppering the countryside with £330,000,000 industrial sites involving toxic and explosive material would not be considered as ‘minimal’ by any sane person.

      ‘very cold homes in winter and sharply increased mortality rates.’

      The first applications to frack in the UK were 2010. The UK has not had any energy restrictions put on them in the last six years. We have plenty of North sea reserves and the world is awash with cheap oil and gas. Our long term energy trading partners,Norway,are piped directly to us and supply most of our imports. They are set to lower their LNG prices to 20p per therm. As our present LNG landed price is 33p per therm, Norway are prepared to lower prices to keep and maximise market share.

      We have a very secure energy system so now is the perfect time to push to increase our renewable capability which would see our North sea reserves under less pressure and lasting longer through reduced demand.

      • You realize that North Sea gas is expensive and is in massive decline, right John? Why has gas production declined by 70 to 75% over the last decade? Did the tax regime become that much more onerous over that period? Can you supply evidence to support this thesis? I know many in industry who think otherwise.

        But you would bet the UK’s energy future on Norway coming to the rescue? Are you aware that Norway’s gas production is in steep decline also? Over the next 7-8 years it is projected to decline some 40%, and the UK is not the only nation to rely on Norway as you know. As this article notes, all of Europe is facing a crunch for natural gas and is going to have to import it from further and further away because resources close to Europe are depleting fast.

        Shale extraction costs are not high, but in fact are very low. This very fact has supported the shale revolution in the US. Producers always want you and the government to think there costs are higher than they actually are – this is true in any industry. They cry poor to avoid taxes and to appeal to the government for help – nothing new there. But facts are facts, and we know that shale gas is extracted very inexpensively in the US and so it shall be in the UK. Note that initial costs will be high, but these costs will decline quickly as a service industry is built up.

        We consider the impacts to be relatively minimal in the US, but what do we know? We’ve only fracked 1 million plus wells, right? Compared to the 200 in the UK. Yes, John, it is minimally impactful given the energy density of the solution.

        Best of luck!

    • “I do not believe the UK’s energy policy should be dictated by the results from a popularity contest.”

      Given that you are an American who uses a whole bunch of different sockpuppet IDs, what on earth makes you think you have any right to have a say in how UK’s energy policy is decided? And why do you keep telling us how you think people would respond to polls if only the questions were written by the fracking PR industry LOL – Why not get some polls done and we’ll see if you are right.

      And why do come out with b/s like “fracking with its attendant low heating costs” – have you not been reading about the glut of LNG. UK fracking looks like it is never going to be economically sustainable whilst the Qataris play the same game OPEC has been doing.

      Here – have a read Peeny

      Now explain how UK fracking is going to compete with that? It’s the same end product Peeny. It makes no difference whether I oppose UK fracking or you pump it to make money out of idiot investors. If the market is saturated with cheap hydrocarbons then expensive UK shale will never have a chance before it is all too late and the carbon budget crunch locks them out.

      Good luck frackers – you’ll need it!

      • LOL. When John Hobson begins his rant with the ad hominem attack, he has conceded the argument.

        As to the economics, John, we’ll just let the efficient capital markets take care of that shall we?


        • Peeny old thing – you need to learn the differne between a gratuitous ad hominem attack and a reasonable observation my man!

          I’m happy for “the efficient capital markets take care of that” just as long as our desperate government doesn’t jump into prop up this backward looking industry with my taxes. (Not yours Peeny – you don’t pay any over here do you?)

          But I see you have no answer….

  2. Let’s stick to the point. The results say NO THANK YOU. No amount of ‘guessing will change that.

    If you feel upset by the result as it has not supported your dirty industry, than run a poll your self and ask those pertinent questions you feel will give you the ‘correct response’.

    Again, I would remind you that to date no one has died through a ‘cold home’ in winter. If you are referring to the tragic deaths of pensioners due to lack of appropriate care facilities due to austerity cuts by this government, then you should be on another blog.

Add a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s