Small rise in support for fracking – latest government survey

Summary attitudes

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave Tracker survey

UK support for fracking has recovered from its record low, according to the latest findings from a quarterly government survey. Opposition fell slightly but remains double the level of support.


Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave Tracker survey

The results, published this morning, put support at 16%, up three points from the previous survey and back to the level of six months ago. It remains lower than support for nuclear energy (35%) and renewables (79%).


Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave Tracker survey

Opposition to fracking was 32%, down four points from the previous survey which was a record high. Opposition remains higher than a year ago but repeated a trend in previous surveys of falling in the winter.


Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave Tracker survey

The gap between support and opposition is now 16%. This has narrowed from the previous survey, when it was the largest so far recorded.

Strong support and opposition

Strong support

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave Tracker survey

According to the survey, strong support for fracking was up two percentage points to 3%.

Strongly oppose

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave Tracker survey

Strong opposition was down two points on the previous survey to 12%.

Participants who said they neither supported nor opposed fracking – 49% – remained the largest proportion of the survey, unchanged from this time a year ago. Of those who were neutral on fracking, 78% said this was because they didn’t know enough about it.



Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave Tracker survey

Overall awareness of fracking was 76%, down two points on the figure in the previous survey. Participants who said they knew a lot rose to 15%, two points up on the previous survey. Participants who said they had never heard of fracking or shale gas was also up two points to 24%.  Those who said they knew a little was down 5% to 42%.

The researchers said:

“Awareness of fracking was higher among those aged 55-64 and 65+ (88% and 87%, respectively), those in social grade AB (90%), home owners (85%) and those who earn over £50,000 (93%).”

Reasons for support

Reasons to support

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave Tracker survey

The most commonly given reasons to support fracking were:

  • Need to use all available energy sources – up 4% on the previous survey to to 36%
  • Reduce dependence on other fossil fuels – up 11% to 34%
  • Reduce dependence on other countries of UK’s energy supply – up 1% to 25%
  • May result in cheaper energy bills – down 5% to 21%, continuing a trend over the past six months
  • Good for local jobs and investment – down 10% to 18%

Reasons for opposition

Reasons to oppose

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave Tracker survey

The most commonly given reason for opposing fracking was loss or destruction of the natural environment. This peaked at 68% in summer 2017 and has fallen since to 62% in the latest survey.

Other reasons given are:

  • Risk of contamination to water supply – down 1% to 27%
  • Too much risk or uncertainty – down 6% to 24%
  • Risk of earthquakes – unchanged at 23%
  • Not a safe process – down 1% to 24%

Other energy sources

The survey asked questions about other energy sources.

Nuclear energy

Support 35%; oppose 22%; neither support nor oppose 40%; don’t know 3%

Renewable energy

Support 79%; oppose 4%; neither support nor oppose 16%; don’t know 1%


A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“Today’s release of Wave 24 data gives some palliative relief to the ailing UK fracking
industry. It shows that the relentless slide towards single figure percentage support has
been, at least temporarily, halted. The industry, however, are still a long way from reversing the plummeting support over the last few years.

“The collapse in the acceptance of the industry’s standard PR lines is particularly striking. When asked why they support fracking the reason “Good for local jobs and investment” has fallen from 28% to 18% and “May result in cheaper energy bills” has fallen from 26% to 21%.

In spite of the huge resources thrown at PR by the industry the story is clear. Their efforts to persuade the general public are failing miserably.”


The Wave 24 survey for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy  carried out 2,078 face-to-face interviews in homes among a representative sample of UK adults, aged 16+. The interviews were conducted 13-17 December 2017 on the Kantar TNS Omnibus, which uses a random location quota sampling method. The questionnaire was designed by BEIS and Kantar Public drawing on a number of questions from previous surveys.


Wave 24, the latest BEIS quarterly public attitudes survey

Updated on 1/2/2018 at 2pm to correct the figure for people who neither support nor oppose renewables.

56 replies »

  1. At least I give answers Sherwulfe, unlike some who want to play the man with personal attacks, rather than play the ball. Obviously, the ball is a bit more difficult to deal with.

    Quite understand your frustration when those that oppose fracking, based on this survey, drops to below one third of those questioned. And all of this before any worthwhile benefit analyses has been possible, which will be subject to much publicity if/when it happens. Step up the recruitment drive to try and distort the actual support, although injunctions might put a damper on that. [Edited by moderator]

  2. Im only 17 years old (and regularly read DoD) I Find it fascinating that all the ‘Antis/NIMBYs’ complain about the extraction of oil and gas, yet happily drive their oil guzzling 4×4 around to these protests etc. I even saw pictures at a “protection camp” where occupiers were having a BBQ powered by a Gas Bottle.

    Even at this age I can understand the benefits of Uk Shale for the future of our planet and economy (both local and national). Theres still a good 30+ years until electric will be the main mode of transport (simply because it is too expensive for most households). Additionally wind and solar aren’t reliant enough on their own, and the need for a cleaner energy (Gas) rather than oil and coal is crystal clear.

    Whether you like it or not Oil and Gas are still a part of our lives for the next 20 years. Minimum. Why not make it cheaper for lower income houses with the extraction of oil nationally? Ultimately this is only a debate because May lost her majority. If that had not been the case and Cameron and Osbourne were still in. We would all be beginning to reap the benefits that Fracking has to offer our nation.

    Cheers, GS

    • What a terrible shame that someone so young with their life in front of them should already be so close minded and prejudicial about other people, just because they hold opposing views. How easy it is to fall into the trap of Us and Them rather than looking to see things from the other side.

      Regardless of your views on the subject to be labelling people with ‘Anti/NIMBY’ labels shows significant immaturity, although it is not untypical language for those with a vested interest in the O&G industry, which at 17 years of age would be very unusual.

      Cheers CB

      • Shhhh! Do you want to know a, not so, secret crembrule? Shhhh? I’ll whisper it in your ear…….whisper whisper whisper ‘Antis/NIMBYs’, whisper whisper whisper “oil guzzling 4×4?”, whisper whisper whisper “wind and solar aren’t reliant enough on their own?”, whisper whisper whisper whisper, “May, Cameron and Osbourne?” whisper whisper whisper whisper “17?”….”same as”….”???”……all clear now? Shhhh! Don’t tell anyone!

      • At least he does have his own view and opinion about the subject. Unlike many anti frackers who are just puppets of Qatar and Russia gas cartel to keep uk hooked on imported gas.

        • Ha! Ha! Fake News! Qanon FISA Trump Clinton/Obama/FBI own treason says otherwise.
          In fact it is proved to be the accusers who are guilty of their own crimes whilst HRC was secretary of state, 80 odd murders of whistleblowers, Uranium1 and Clinton treasonable attempts to I return local and central elections.
          The latest attempt to crash the train to murder the witnesses, shows just how corrupt the internal attempted coup was, and presumably is, prepared to go.

          Who needs Russian boogie boogie men when such internal treason has been proven to be the root cause all along.

          Don’t try to throw that fake Russian rubbish around, it’s just more toxic smoke and cracked mirrors, it won’t work, it is a bunch of deep state attempted treasonous political coup faked up rubbish.

    • Dear George,
      Am so pleased a young person feels confident enough to express their own views on here; often it can be those of their parents who put phrases into their rhetoric and they are repeated without hesitation.

      Interestingly, one of your phrases ‘yet happily drive their oil guzzling 4×4 around to these protests etc’ echoes a contributor on here who believes that running a leased hybrid is better for the planet and doesn’t understand the carbon footprint of so many new cars in such a short space of time; in fact in their case it is better to ‘drive their oil guzzling 4×4 around’, so be careful what you pick up.

      I agree, oil and gas (lower case for importance) will be around for many years to come, not because we can and should use it wisely, but because those who control this energy source don’t want to give up their ‘oil guzzling 4×4’s and multiple houses, many of which are never lived in.

      You say you are doing A Level Geography, which syllabus and options? Would you not be better doing Engineering if you want to frack?

      As a Geographer, you might be interested in these:

      And as a someone who I believe would like a secure and well paid job to reward his hard work (20 years is not enough to pay a mortgage these days), maybe these?

      Click to access one_million_climate_jobs_2014.pdf

      Thanks for your contribution. Remember, views we have a young people will change over time. Many ‘‘Antis/NIMBYs’ have qualifications and experience way beyond A Level, and if you truly want to DYOR, dump the tutor and come over and speak to those who have the facts.

      Good luck for the future, whatever yours is; mine and many more will be to protect you and all future generations from the destruction being caused by your elders and definitely not betters 😉

      • Im doing Geography and Business. As for doing engineering; Its a no from me:) I would be more attracted to a Managerial or directorial role at a company that extracts the sweet stuff 😉 Therefore could carry the experience of managing a company in an emerging sector once/if the company no longer exists. My parents have no interest in Fracking so not their views being manipulated into my opinions I’m afraid;) You’ll have to find another reason as to why a young person likes the idea of fracking 😉

        • George

          Looks like you route into fracking or onshore oil and gas is via Planning. There must be need for suitable people to work the planning process! A few of my compatriots went into planning via a degree in Geography.

          However, the industry is engineering driven, from the expertise in deciding to bid for a PEDL, civils to set up the site, Drillers, mud loggers and other well integrity interests as well as chemical engineers ( process engineers ) for the product once produced. All of these have people capable of moving up and onto the board.

  3. [Edited by moderator] I have made my own judgements about the topic through reading both sides of the arguments. I’m studying A-Level Geography and was hoping to have an apprenticeship of sorts within the industry. That is my main reason for supporting fracking.

    • [Edited by mnoderator]
      Good to know that you admit to a vested interest (which is fine) but it clearly colours your view, hence your use of industry tropes to describe those in opposition to the industry. Perhaps as part of your Geography A level it might be worth examining the social impacts of the industry on the communities effected. Such a myopic view which you currently display will not stand you in good stead academically in the future where critical thinking is encouraged.

      • [Edited by moderator]

        A minority would object because of the “”environmental impacts””, and a large majority would welcome a reduction in price of heating their homes. Especially lower income houses. Which as an idea from the conservatives, doesn’t seem so mean does it? The rest can capitalise on the opportunity and will be for it for the economical benefits personally and nationally.

        Obviously many will disagree with my views because I am posting on a bias website (no offence Ruth, you do a great Job) So I was expecting some replies criticising my ‘nativity’ etc.

        Once Third get rolling with little fuss, the rest will start rolling. 2019 will be the year it all properly kicks off. 2018 is about testing a few and proving it can be done safely.

        Cheers GS

        • ‘and a large majority would welcome a reduction in price of heating their homes’

          If you are talking about shale gas, then sorry George but you just got an E. You haven’t done your research. Need to learn to walk before you can run…..

          ‘Once Third get rolling’ am afraid you need to check out Third Energy’s latest results.

          It’s not obvious that many will disagree with you, unless you in fact do not believe in your own convictions? Put forward a good case (it’s what you will need to do in uni) and people will listen. A good tip is to put some evidence, links or references; using the Havard referencing convention would be good practice showing the reports, books and journals you have read.

          P.S ‘you do a great Job’ the word job in this phrase does not warrant a capital letter 😉

          • Do you really feel the need to pick me up on my grammar? Fair enough. Fracking isn’t even part of my syllabus I’m on AQA.

            Third are yet to get ‘rolling’ due to the constant and tiring setbacks from planning etc. Once they’re actually getting shale gas out of the ground and benefits are being reaped, other councils will follow.

            The author of this site always makes it seem that these companies are really struggling when in reality they are quite healthy.

            The wording of the most recent article on Third Energy “Third Energy records loss of £3.4 in delayed 2016 reports” subconsciously indicates that its a RECORD LOSS. Just little things I know but reading from an opposite viewpoint to the author, is very noticeable.

      • [Edited by moderator] These cries of foul are just the desperation of failed fracking support industry frantically trying to gain the moral high ground. It’s all fake dirty smoke and multiple cracked mirrors.
        And that says more than a lot.
        [Edited by moderator]

          • [Edited by moderator]
            As for the grammar, am sure your tutor’s pull you on this, don’t take offence, just a help.

            Am sure your business studies will teach you the slant on numbers, creative accounting and statistics are used to set a ‘story’ for others to have trust in and follow; sadly many of these narratives are false and many get hurt. Ethical business is on the rise and more and more of the population are turning against creative narratives; choose your path wisely, at 17 everything seems possible and probable.

  4. Sorry GS, the antis are at a stage where they have forgotten about the ball, and just want to play the man. The recent survey results have caused a great cloud of depression and they need an outlet.

    Keep an eye on hydrogen from fossil fuels. This electric fad may turn out to be a bridge to something else. There will be a frost in the morning, my Hybrid will say forget my battery, I’m switching to petrol. It says the same when I approach London, but the gullible still give me loads of benefits. Hey ho.

  5. Yep hrb. I explained some while ago, short term lease (6-7 months.) Short, because new models will be appearing on an increasingly regular basis this year, and should be a step up on previous models, and a lease because the depreciation on Hybrids is awful because models are not desired as soon as better technology is launched. That is the result of my research, but I’m sure others may come to a different conclusion. Costs a little more my way, but then I don’t get saddled with something I regret, and Ponzi is paying, so what the heck.

    • tut tut, Martin; another new car; think of the cost to the planet. You won’t be able to slag off Refracktion’s old diesel now, it will have a smaller carbon footprint.

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