Fourth Cheshire surveys finds ¾ of residents oppose fracking


A fourth survey of residents in Cheshire has found more than 75% oppose fracking.

The latest poll in Helsby, a village between Chester and Runcorn, was released last week.

It found:

  • 9.0% of respondents believed fracking would be a good thing for the area
  • 79.7% believed fracking would be a bad thing for the area
  • 11.3% didn’t know or had no opinion on whether fracking would be good or bad for the area

Women were slightly more opposed to fracking than men (82.1% compared with 78.1%). Younger people were more opposed to fracking than people aged 75+.

Surveys in neighbouring Frodsham and in Mickle Trafford and Guilden Sutton near Chester have also put opposition to fracking at more than 75% and support at under 10%.


Helsby is in exploration licence area PEDL190, awarded to IGas in 2008 and now held in partnership with INEOS Upstream. IGas drilled a well at Ince Marshes in 2011 to explore for coal bed methane. Planning permission for this site, granted for 25 years, covers appraisal, production and electricity generation. Another coal bed methane well, Kemira-1, was drilled in 1994.



In 2016, INEOS held a series of private meetings about shale gas with parish and town councils. Members of Helsby Parish Council attended a meeting in May 2016.

INEOS is the licence operator of PEDL194 (map right), which includes Frodsham, where a similar survey was carried out last year. It is also a partner with IGas in PEDL189, where surveys were carried out at Mickle Trafford and Guilden Sutton.


Helsby survey details

The Helsby survey result was released on 17 February 2017. It was conducted by Frack Free Frodsham and Helsby and, like the others, analysed by Fusion Data Science.

  • 1,200 questionnaires were distributed door-door to a random sample of households in the Helsby Parish Council area
  • The questionnaires were collected over the following three weeks and a minimum of three collection attempts were made
  • 687 completed questionnaires were received (57.3%)
  • Of these, 11 were blank, spoiled or ambiguous leaving a valid total of 676 questionnaires (56.3%)

The valid questionnaires included the views of 1,227 local adult residents. 4,059 adults were estimated by the Office for National Statistics to live in the Helsby Parish Council area in 2014

The count, on 22 October 2016, was supervised by Fusion Data Science and observed by local councillors and residents.


Helsby survey report Feb 2017  (pdf)

Link to DrillOrDrop report on Frodsham survey

Link to DrillOrDrop report Mickle Trafford and Gilden Sutton surveys

More information

DrillOrDrop pages:



36 replies »

  1. [Edited by moderator] If I told you that you that I had proof that you would get cancer and your house price would plummet if you drank milk, and then proceeded to poll you on whether you favored milk, do you think this would impact the favorability rating of milk? It’s an unfair comparison, of course, because milk is already accepted as safe by most of the population, so the impact would be small, but I think you get the drift of what I’m saying.

    The material you published here a week or two ago where people related where they first learned about fracking underlines my point. Just look at the responses and see how many of those people learned about fracking from activist organizations or through other people who were educated by activists. A very high proportion learned from these sources. They were “educated” on misinformation. And now they are polled and we are supposed to act surprised that 75% of the population is scared to death of fracking.

    I understand it is a big win for anti-frackers whenever these polls come out and demonstrate that fracking is feared by the general population. But it is certainly also a demonstration of exactly how the truth gets lost in a world of fake science, fake news, and the rise of social media extremism. The truth has absolutely been a casualty in this debate.

    • Well said hBall. How many were told that the water would be polluted, toxic and carcinogenic chemicals would be used, your house price would plummet, and there would be health effects?

      Odd that I used these examples as these are exactly the claims that were made by Friends of the Earth and they were unable to provide any evidence to support that after I complained against their false advertising.

      I see from the survey details that a leaflet was circulated prior to the survey. Possibly containing a load of fake information about how you would get leukemia/breast cancer/etc etc?? I have taken 5 groups to the Advertising Standards Authority for this type of inflammatory and scientifically inaccurate drivel, and in every case, they groups have agreed to withdraw their advertising.

      • And equally perhaps they read that Cuadrilla was ruled against by the ASA for saying they only use safe techniques.
        There is more to fracking than a clumsily worded leaflet by either side. I have noted that you constantly over play the importance of the ASA in fracking as if they are some ultimate ruling body on all matters fracking. They are not – but if they were, then what does that say about Cuadrilla and Chris Faulkner – both industry and both ruled against by the ASA?
        And what about Greenpeace winning their challenge to the ASA? This you may recall was because the ASA incorrectly ruled that Greenpeace had been wrong to say that fracking would not lower gas prices.
        Give the people of Cheshire some credit – they are capable of looking at all the facts and making their own minds up about fracking.

        • Please advise of a serious technical body that has come out against shale gas. That will exclude the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Society, IMech, the IET, the Environment Agency, Public Health England, EASAC, all of the Geological Societies of Europe, the Scottih Govt report, dozens of US states and so on.

          So the ASA changed its mind on the gas price claim. So what? The complaint I made was about the risks and health impacts. Its the 5th such complaint and what this shows is that when challenged, the anti groups can provide no data to support their claims. They take the cowards option and withdraw. If their science is so good why dont they stand up to my complaints? I am just a bloke with a keyboard after all.

          If the info leaflet is like the many I have seen before, the the people are ‘making up their mind’ based upon fake info.

      • Ken – none of your attempts to get the ASA tomake a ruling have been successful have they? Would you confirm?

    • People who voted for this Government are not supporting a shale gas industry.

      The results of numerous surveys prove that.

      Information on both sides is readily available.

      People are doing their own research and making informed decisions.

      It is fact. The majority of the UK population do not want an onshore unconventional oil and gas industry.

  2. All the surveys, including the government’s own – repeatedly say the public, when they learn about fracking, don’t want it.
    A poll in the US showed that more people oppose fracking than support it, even in states where there is no fracking.
    The government and industry have been active with PR in every area faced with fracking and with far more money and resource. No way can anyone claim people in these areas have only heard from one side i.e. those opposed. The fact is the majority of people in these areas have shown they oppose fracking. And I don’t blame them!

    • [Edited by moderator] Few people pay attention to the government and industry information (and info. from these parties is much less common because these organizations don’t depend on shaking down a frightened public to fill their coffers as does the opposition). It is not dramatic or sensational. As we all acknowledge, controversy sells. That’s why the news media loves the anti-frackers and its why their absurd statements have gotten so much media play [Edited by moderator]. When the industry comes out and says “fracking can be undertaken safely” and then goes into all of the boring technical details and empirical data which support the statement, the media and the general public yawn.

      These polls reflect a mob lynch mentality witch hunt. Science and facts have had no place in the debate. FoE and others have seen to that. The public has been grossly manipulated.

      • Sorry to repeat mysel but I’m afraid I do not accept your reasoning. I think people are capable of looking at all the facts and making their own minds up.
        The industry has thrown millions into PR to get the information across and so has the government. There have been numerous events held by the regulatory agencies in all areas targeted for shale as well. Parish and town councils visited by industry, debates have taken place between industry and opponents. It is nonsense to infer people have not had access to all the facts. If anyone was to claim there had been any imbalance or advantage it would be the groups that oppose. They do not have anything like the resource that industry and government have.

        [Imbalance corrected by moderator]

        • You miss the point. [Edited by moderator] People are vulnerable to being misled, especially when it comes to new technologies, and they don’t know what to believe. When you offer scare stories, supported by pseudo-science, it is a powerful, emotive argument and it is easy to bamboozle people. On the other hand, the facts, science, and empirical data are boring and non-emotive, and they don’t get 1/10th of the play in the media.

          The fact is that the surveys shown on this very site demonstrate the point. A large proportion of respondents said that they had learned about fracking from activist organizations or through friends who had learned through activist organizations. That’s the fact. [Edited by moderator] these organizations have had an irrefutable impact on polls, tainting them and rendering them useless.

            • [Edited by moderator]
              Hey John, have you yet found that ONE SINGLE SHRED OF EVIDENCE THAT FRACKING IS A SYSTEMIC THREAT TO HUMAN HEALTH? You know, the little issue which forms the backbone to most of the anti-fracking claims but that has never, ever been proven? Huh, John, we’re all still waiting! LOL

            • [Edited by moderator]

              And now, a quote from the Telegraph article on Cuadrilla’s appeal for government help [Edited by moderator]: “In a letter to security minister Ben Wallace earlier this month, seen by the Telegraph, the local chamber of commerce said the “appalling and intimidatory tactics” used by anti-fracking activists are deliberately targeting local businesses and are preventing the firms from benefiting from opportunities created by the booming shale industry.”

              “It hasn’t impacted the schedule but local small firms, which are most vulnerable to intimidation, are losing business in Lancashire which is exactly the opposite of what we’re trying to achieve.”

              There have been a dozen arrests related to verbal death threats and physical assault against workers at Cuadrilla’s site in the last month but some forms of legal protest action are carried out with the police in attendance.” [Moderator: According to the Police there have been no arrests for verbal death threats and physical assault against workers (as at 20/2/17). See Ruth’s comment below]

              [Edited by moderator] Intimidation, death threats, denying work to locals – who isn’t going to love that? [Edited by moderator]

            • Calm down Peeny or you will keep being [Edited by moderator] 😂

              As to “It hasn’t impacted the schedule” – how odd that they seem to be two weeks behind schedule after 4 weeks then.

            • “There have been a dozen arrests related to verbal death threats and physical assault against workers at Cuadrilla’s site in the last month ”

              Really Peeny – Golly – that sounds like you are claiming it’s a systemic issue – do you have ANY evidence at all to support that statement? If so please let us see it!

            • When people feel their voices are being ignored, when the democratic process has been weakened by legislative and policy changes and something is forced upon them against their will – what is left for them to do but protest. It is a disgrace it has been allowed to come to this.
              Other countries within the United Kingdom have put a moritoriom on fracking and two of the main political parties in Westminster, that were previously supportive, want to ban fracking. It is wrong that this government is showing such contempt for the people of England. Because without altering laws, planning policy and using SoS powers – it would seem planning applications for fracking would have been thrown out. I have not come across one local development plan that would support fracking. Minerals and waste plans would also have had more powers to restrict the scale of the industry – it is only the unfair interference by Westminster that has allowed the sites in Lancashire to be developed.

            • Sorry Peeny – I must have missed your reply old thing – you were going to provide some evidence to support your allegation that “There have been a dozen arrests related to verbal death threats and physical assault against workers at Cuadrilla’s site in the last month”.


            • Hi hballpeenyahoocom A spokesperson for Lancashire Police confirmed at 11.45am on 20 February 2017 that there had been no arrests related to verbal death threats and physical assault against workers at the Preston New Road site. Best wishes, Ruth

    • Hballpeenyahoocom … All of these areas had access to industry run fracking information events. These well publicised gatherings run by very reasonable, appealing, industry bods provided completely pro-fracking stances. Adjacent to the areas surveyed here, is the parliamentary constituency of Chester which was hit by the threat of fracking before the last general election; the MP of the time – Stephen Mosley – was pro-fracking and publicised his opinions clearly. (His views were well publicised in the local press which these areas would have access to). Shortly afterwards, Chester bucked the national trend at the general election and voted in a Labour candidate – Chris Mathesson – who takes an anti-fracking position. Going against a national Conservative trend was no coincidence – people voted against Mosely because of his pro-fracking stance. I’m not sure how familiar you are with the areas mentioned – with the spellings of ‘favor’ and ‘favorabilty’ I do wonder if you’re writing from the US – but all the areas surveyed are not in the back of beyond and had access to newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet (!) all of which provide both sides of the argument. The oil and gas industry have more than enough money and resources to create their own ‘fake news’ so I am not worried about bias against them. The people of the area have spoken from a measured, well informed point of view and have in significant proportions rejected fracking; their opinions should be respected.

  3. “exactly how the truth gets lost in a world of fake science, fake news, and the rise of social media extremism” – hmm – somebody’s nor happy that the antics of local councillors still haven’t had the desired effect aren’t they.

    It seems even exhortations to uses school kids as propaganda vehicle haven’t been enough to bamboozle the good people of Cheshire. It seems the truth is harder to bend than the parafrackers would hope.

  4. Not much point in either side losing any sleep or wasting time over these surveys. Irrelevant to any planning application and determination of same.

    • Sadly Paul you seem to be right – the government doesn’t care what the people or their local representatives think and will press ahead regardless and overrule any refusal on planning grounds as we have already seen – but I bet we hear you bleating when the inevitable result is that some will take direct action because the democratic routes have been blocked.

  5. Survey of 120,000 unemployed ex-North Sea Oil and Gas workers – 95% agree shale gas exploitation should proceed in the UK……..

    • Paul I you said surveys were pointless? Perhaps only when they don’t support your view? 😉
      And we all know how planning and other legislation has been altered/introduced to favour shale. Plus SoS intervention. So there is little comfort in the planning system for communities faced with shale either.

      • KT – of course there has not been, and never will be, such a survey. The point I was trying to make is exactly that, all surveys are pointless unless they are formally recognised and the results are officially adopted. If these surveys had been part of the evidence base for no fracking in a Community Plan, and subsequently meshed into the district local Development Framework and approved by PINS then they would mean something. But otherwise they are a waste of time.

        • Hi Paul – I got that it wasn’t a genuine poll, that was why the image was of a smile with a wink. The images are so small – so apologies if it wasn’t clear.

  6. If we do a survey on MacDonald and sugary drinks its impact on obesity I bet the majority will vote to ban it. But everone continues to eat it drink it. Same with fossil fuel everyone want to ban the company that profit from it but almost everyone will continue to use it and if they dont have it at the pump they will almost certainly whinge about it.
    Nick Grealy quite rightly point it out that fossil fuel is probably one key fact that help to break slavery labour in the west. So stop whining and use it responsibly.

  7. hballpeenyahoocom says Quote:
    ‘The truth has absolutely been a casualty in this debate.’
    Quote: ‘Few people pay attention to the government and industry information (and info. from these parties is much less common because these organizations don’t depend on shaking down a frightened public to fill their coffers as does the opposition).’
    I paid very close attention, but as a professional analyst of many years experience, I am very particular about what sources I believe and have found it necessary to closely scrutinise the utterances of the govt and oil and gas industry. After a year of listening to half truths, weasel words, spin and alternative truth, I decided I could no longer trust anything they said and had little option but to oppose fracking until my questions and concerns were fully answered. Another three years on, nothing has changed. Hball shows a complete lack of understanding of the opposition (or chooses to). The vast majority are intelligent, articulate people who have studied EVERY available aspect of fracking closely and have decided on balance who they can trust, or otherwise. Unlike the pro fracking lobby, the opposition movement has no access to huge sums of taxpayer or investors money to fund highly professional PR. They have to stump up ever increasing amounts of their own money to pay for every aspect of opposition, in addition to huge amounts of their own unpaid time. We would all much rather spend our time and money on other things, but have been given little option as the govt and industry roll inexorably forward without any social license.
    Quote: ‘There have been a dozen arrests related to verbal death threats and physical assault against workers at Cuadrilla’s site in the last month but some forms of legal protest action are carried out with the police in attendance.’
    Shame on you Hball for repeating unsubstantiated reports when you purport to be such an upstanding arbiter of fact and truth. This is an example of the spin and downright lies from the media, in particular those known to be highly sympathetic (or should that read sycophantic?) to the govt. The arrests reported were for public order and public assembly issues, as published by the Fylde Police in their statements. Or perhaps you could give us your evidence for ‘death threats and physical assault’.

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