Changes planned to questions in government survey of fracking views


The government is planning to change some of the questions in its public opinion survey on why people support or oppose fracking.

A consultation, which opened today, asks for views on these and other proposed changes as part of a review of the Wave Tracker.

The survey, commissioned by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, has shown a decline in support for fracking and a rise in opposition since the question was first asked in 2013.

DrillOrDrop has been reporting regularly the quarterly findings, the most recent of which puts support on 16% and opposition on 32%. Participants who neither supported nor opposed were 49% in the latest survey, published on 1 February 2018.

The survey asks five main questions about fracking and shale gas. There is no proposal to change questions about how much participants know about the process and whether they support or oppose it.

But the consultation does propose to change the three questions covering why participants either support or oppose or don’t express an opinion. The consultation document says:

“This is to provide more useful information for policy development.”

It adds:

“The detail of the potential new questions has not yet been developed.”

In the most recent survey, the main reasons given for support for fracking were:

  • Need to use all available energy sources
  • Reduce dependence on other fossil fuels
  • Reduce dependence on other countries of UK’s energy supply
  • May result in cheaper energy bills
  • Good for local jobs and investment

Reasons to support

The main reasons given in the most recent survey for opposing fracking were:

  • Risk of contamination to water supply
  • Too much risk or uncertainty
  • Risk of earthquakes
  • Not a safe process

Reasons to oppose

Among participants who neither supported nor opposed, the main reasons were:

  • Don’t know enough about it
  • Have never heard of it
  • Haven’t made up my mind about it yet
  • I can see the positives and negatives
  • Not interested

The consultation closes on 18 March 2018 and views can be given online link here


29 replies »

  1. How about having a sensible question, asking people to say which they would prefer, fracking, solar, wind,water,nuclear. I am sure there are others. The technology for all of them is out there, and is improving in quality and effectiveness all the time

  2. That’s not what all the locals to PNR have said though is it Ryor, and they do not see the “evidence” as you do. People do weigh up the positives and the negatives. I’m not sure there are any robust sets of financial data to weigh up for UK fracking as yet, but when they arrive they will be considered by the public and will need to be included in any balanced market research going forward. Until that happens there will be a large proportion who will sit on the fence, which is what the research shows to date.

    • Martin, please refer to my post in older comments February 16, 2018 at 8:56 pm. You will see how this applies to PNR. If the residents don’t want it, it should not be forced upon them. It’s not about making money for the few.

  3. For climate change, as with Brexit, not enough honest information has been circulated in advance to have a meaningfully informed public – tokeep any opinion polls meaningful. Public consent only carries some weight if it is informed consent. The country didn’t know what it was voting for with Brexit and they still don’t know what they’ll end up with. Fracking and climate disinformation is intitutionalised to the point where the truth is fairly well hidden from the public.

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