Rise in support for fracking continues – latest government survey

Wave 25 000 summary

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave 25 Tracker survey

Support for fracking in the UK has risen again, according to the latest findings from a quarterly government survey. Opposition remained unchanged and is still 14 percentage points ahead of support.

Wave 25 support

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave 25 Tracker survey

The results published this morning put support at 18%, up two points on the previous survey. This is the second consecutive rise and is the highest level for support since this time a year ago.

According to the survey, support for shale gas still remains below support for nuclear energy (38%) and renewables (85%, a record high).

Wave 25 Oppose

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave 25 Tracker survey

Opposition to fracking remained on 32% after a four point drop between the 2017 autumn and winter surveys. Opposition remains higher than a year ago.

The gap between support and opposition is narrowing and now stands on 14%, down from a record 23% in atumun 2017.

Neither support nor oppose

Wave 25 Neither support nor oppose

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave 25 Tracker survey

Participants who neither supported nor oppose fell to 47%, the lowest level since summer 2016.

Strong support and opposition

Wave 25 support strongly

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave 25 Tracker survey

Despite the rise in general support, strong support for fracking was down one percentage point to 2%. This appears to be part of a general trend from the record high of 6% in September 2013.

wave 25 oppose strongly

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave 25 Tracker survey

The proportion of people who strongly oppose fracking rose by one per percentage point to 13%. This is just short of record levels seen at this time two years ago and in autumn 2017.


Wave 25 Awareness

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave 25 Tracker survey

Overall awareness remained unchanged at 76%. 12% said they knew a lot, down 3% on the previous survey. 42% of participants said they knew a little and 22% said they were aware of shale gas but didn’t know what it was. 24% said they had not heard of it.

The researchers said awareness of fracking was higher amongst those in social grade AB (92%) and those aged 55-64 (86%) and 65+ (87%).

Awareness was also highest among participants with household incomes over £35,000. The level was 87% for household incomes £35,000-£49,999, and 86% for those over £50,000.

Reasons for support

Wave 25 Reasons to support

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave 25 Tracker survey

The cold spring and news headlines about energy imports may have influenced the reasons for supporting fracking.

The proportion who said they supported shale gas rose because it would reduce dependence on imports rose to 36% in this survey, up from 25% three months earlier.

Other leading reasons for support were “need to use all available energy sources” and “reducing dependence on other fossil fuels”. Both these reasons saw small falls.

Reasons for opposition

Wave 25 reasons to oppose

Source: BEIS Public Attitudes Wave 25 Tracker survey

Concerns about loss or destruction of the environment remained the leading reasons for opposing fracking, though it fell from 62% in the previous survey to 57% in this one. Other leading reasons to oppose also rose in this survey:

  • Risk of contamination to water supply – up four point to 31%
  • Too much risk or uncertainty – up four point to 28%
  • Risk of earthquakes – up six points to 29%


171214 Frack Free Lancashire1

Protest outside Lancashire County Council in Preston, 14 December 2017. Photo: Frack Free Lancashire

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“The long-term trend is obvious – this industry continuously fails to win support in spite of efforts to alternately buy local support and to threaten opposition with draconian legal injunctions.

“The data suggests that the small increase in support, from recent record lows, seems to be attributable to the fake news during the cold snap about UK energy dependence on Russia. The reason for support “Reduces dependence on other countries for UK’s energy supply” leapt from 25% to 36% of those polled this time around, when in fact UK imports less than 1% of its gas from Russian sources.

“Meanwhile, support for renewable energy continues to increase, with a record 85% of those polled expressing support, and with strong support surging from 30% to 37%.

“The direction of travel in public opinion is clear. We now need our politicians to recognise this and take actions accordingly.”

A spokesperson for Frack Free United said:

“Unfortunately the misinformation and ignorance about our gas supplies from Russia are likely to create a knee-jerk response. The fact that there is no real change over the past year goes to show fracking is not the popular way to secure our energy supplies.”


The Wave 25 survey for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy carried out 2,102 face-to-face interviews in homes among a representative sample of UK households. The data was collected 28 March and 6 April 2018 using the Kantar TNS Omnibus, a random location quota sampling method. The questionnaire was designed by BEIS and Kantar Public (formerly TNS BMRB) drawing on a number of questions from previous surveys.


Wave 25, the latest BEIS quarterly public attitudes survey




82 replies »

  1. Support for shale gas increasing. Great news…

    Gas has been kicking coal into the long grass again this week

    Older Guardian article about dirty coal plant closures

    Hopefully Gas can get coal out of the energy mix even sooner with gas providing 50% of our electricity most days

    At the moment

    Gas 53%
    Nuclear 20%
    Coal 6%
    Biomass 5.7% Dispatches channel 4 “The true cost of Green energy” still available on catch up
    Wind 4.6%
    Solar 0%
    The rest on

    The public are aware of coal decline and are looking for a reliable replacement whilst lowering CO2 levels like America and not having to rely on other Countries to provide our energy in the run up to our exit from the EU and a change in our agreements with them with regard to energy supply…

    The sooner the better, not long now…

    • You’re making the same mistakes as Martin, Kisheny – misreading the public awareness bit entirely, If you look at the awareness chart you’ll see that those who knew a little about fracking hasn’t changed and those who knew a lot about it has gone down !! (somehow – maybe a different sample of people) while those who’ve heard of it but didn’t know what it was is up a bit.

      Predictably you and Martin would try and make hay out of this, but there’s a wee problem. For this sample of people it means with the lower awareness (on average) of fracking the support is a bit higher. Guess what implications mean for that correspondence? Yep… more awareness corresponds to lower support.

      Now look at the ‘Strongly Oppose’ and ‘Strongly Support’ charts. Need I say more.

      It just shows you how people see what they want to see. But it also begs the question about how Ruth sees fit to make a headline out of the small uptick in support given the closer reading and the somewhat absurd situation of how the ‘knew a lot’ value is falling. Kind of contradicts your/Martins assumptions.

      BTW it hasn’t been Gas that’s kicking coal into the long grass it’s renewables:

      • So what your saying Phil is that people who don’t know much would rather not know more or less of what they don’t know but are happy to know what they know more or less of what they don’t know if they knew???

        • I wouldn’t say anything that confused! Just look at the charts- they tell the story…. more knowledge=less support (previous survey); less knowledge=more support. To let you off the hook you can say there’s so much randomness in the sampling technique that the chances of a two percent shift in any direction would be meaningless in terms of translating that to the whole population.

          If anyone wants to claim anything from this survey then they’d need to explain how the population that it represents has lost 3% of it’s people who knew a lot … can you explain that? (looks like we’re supposed to assume that it represents ‘the country’ i.e. all of the public?)

            • I agree, people who know nothing about shale gas production are more likely to say no to it.

              Their slogan should be

              “We fear change!”

              It’s a bit like your opinion that It’s renewables NOT gas that is kicking coal into the long grass!

              Look at the live data on gridwatch, you are picking and choosing other peoples opinions to fit your opinion.

              Look at the hard facts, like now for example:

              Gas 47.04%
              Nuclear 21.84%
              Coal 6.37%
              Biomass 5.91% Dispatches Channel 4 “The true cost of Green energy” available on catch up
              Wind 4.50%
              Solar 4.06%

              How can you possibly believe renewables are the main energy producer to push coal out?

              I would also like to hear your comments on the main renewable???? energy??? Biomass after watching the independent Dispatches green energy episode???

            • You just seem confused Kisheny. You’re agreeing with something I certainly did not say. And with something thecharts dont say. And it wasn’t my ‘opinion’ that the evidence (my link) pointed to – about renewables kicking coal into the long grass.

            • The other pointless thing you keep doing is giving running totals on current energy supplies when the majority of these arguments are about our strategies for decreasing dependency on fossil fuels for the future.

            • Phil, the link ie evidence from an American financial website? The same Americans that are destroying their forests and eco system to chop healthy trees into pellets and ship them to the U.K to burn and emit more CO2 than burning coal, subsidised by the U.K Government paid by us all in the name of Green energy?
              It is no wonder an American financial website would ignore the electricity charts in the U.K and just look at the minority of intermittent renewables which is generating power and not the out and out supplier GAS!
              With regard to renewables, I use that term loosely with regard to biomass. Just a mere 100 years required to regrow the forest. Then sell us expensive LNG produced from their shale gas fields. Win Win…

              Phil you make reference to charts in one post but don’t like real time data in other posts?

              As for your argument that strategies is the position you are taking, you must be on your own on that one as the Government end subsidies for offshore wind in October as they stated would happen 5 years ago. The reason, paying foreign investors for something that is uneconomical to in effect buy Paris climate tokens with the consumer US! Paying through green subsidies.
              I am sure our American cousins are still happy to chop down forests and destroy eco systems for the big bucks. But then again here in the U.K there doesn’t seem any appetite for protest on it! Why, because It’s not in our back yard…

            • Now you’re just being naive K. Assuming all Americans are the same (and affected by the same ignorance) is just nonsense. Some of the strongest voices for the payment of carbon offsets, and arguments for doing so, are to be found in America, not just amongst the green environmentalists but among environmental and climate scientists (remember those?), And now, increasingly even, among voices from the American military establishment who can see the damaging effects already of climate change, it’s destabilization of certain populations around the world and the mounting costs of damages to their low lying (coastal) military bases and air strips around the world. By failing to spend billions now on these problems the bills are going to run to the trillions before long.

              Please spend time looking at the second link for this kind of discussion. The first link shows one brave senator attempting to speak truth to power and pointing out the web of deceit that has built up around the fossil fuel industry, and the lies propagated by the major billionaire investors a corporate looters and polluters. It’s a very successful web of deceit as it easily pushes your buttons!

              You have totally ignored the warnings about the dangerous impacts of methane (and other fossil fuel emissions) on climate change, now proven, as does the Trump administration with its continued support for rampant fossil fuel exploitation. That’s what the mounting debate in the USA is about, with the lies and deceits being progressively exposed. One nice Trump gaffe last year caught him addressing a review of the Paris Climate agreements saying “I’m here to represent Pittsburgh not Paris”. Soon afterwards the Mayor of Pittsburgh pointed out that they had already beaten the federal lawmakers and made Pittsburgh a frack free zone. They and many other mayors, counties and even whole States have declared allegiances to the Paris agreements despite what the US administration is on about.

     (Senator Sheldon Whitehouse addressing the Senate)
     (Geo political and military concerns about climate change plus v. interesting discussion inc. mayor of Miami and mayor of Parris Sth Carolina – re. large military/marine base – from 30mins)

              The reason I focused on the charts on this particular post is to stay on topic with the current page. But you had no answer to my question.

              [Comment edited at poster’s request]

  2. Look Phil Ruth has made it clear in the headline support for shale gas in the U.K is up…. It really is one line…

    Oh and by the way reading the figures on gridwatch this week clearly show Gas is king…

    • The headline chosen could equally have been ‘Support for renewables at record high (85%)’ or ‘Support falling amongst those who are more aware of fracking’. Take your pick. Ruth might have just replicated a news item from elsewhere. Funny how these things kick off knee jerk responses along partisan lines. That’s what journalists need to be aware of, unless they’re partisan themselves.

      • With regard to the story at hand, the first graph shows that the people who are not engaging in the subject, people who neither support or oppose shale gas is pretty much the same. The interesting result shows that now more information in the public domain is available from great sites like drillordrop has changed people’s minds from being against to being in favour of shale gas extraction in the U.K…

        Sher I have read the Guardian article with great interest thank you and I thoroughly agree that CO2 emissions should be reduced, Ploy Achakulwisut who wrote the article is writing from a priveledged Country. America’s transition from coal to shale gas electricity production has greatly reduced It’s CO2 emissions operating independently of the Paris climate agreement. Ploy should have named and shamed Countries who burn massive amounts of coal like Germany and China.
        Ploy also comments on renewables not being economical or technically advanced enough yet. I agree and in the next few decades the shale gas industry in the U.K will also allow the development of renewables to reach maturity.

        Renewables at present not only rely on subsidies but also require back up when the wind drops etc…

        For the next few decades renewables with gas is the answer as Ploy Achakulwisuts Country is demonstrating

        Sher now having watched the Dispatches episode “The truth about green energy” Biomass green gangsters cashing in. What are your thoughts on that industry?

        • Again we repeat this perpetual groundhog day;

          It’s not the gas –
          It’s NO to shale, too intrusive, too dirty, no taxes, more cost to the health and social services, lost amenity for those who have spent their lives working for a peaceful retirement;

          Oh and if we burn 40% of current reserves at the speed right now – we will ALL die! [small consideration and a big yacht won’t save you from the inevitable]

          So let’s be sensible; max out the renewables; top up and stretch the gas reserves; in with a chance?

          If you keep pushing more gas [and particularly shale] as saviour of climate change, your cult will destroy life as we know it.

          Shale support has gone up by the same percentage as those who know little about shale; influenced by big oil hype and the fictitious Russian bogeyman. Stupid is as stupid does.

          85% support for renewables, let’s at least go with this. The shale has been dumped anyway in favour of imported LNG to offset carbon, letting the source country to take the rap; totally irresponsible.

            • Don’t dodge it Sher… You did promise to watch it online here is a link


              “The true cost of Green energy” Channel 4 Dispatches

              How green gangsters are making £millions destroying forests and eco systems shipping it to the U.K to burn and emit more CO2 than coal all at green subsidies expense paid for by me and you! Enjoy…

              Renewables though, just a quick 100 years to regrow…

            • Sher you did say you would watch the documentary a week ago, which you posted. Nobody on this forum will even bring it up, what a surprise!!!

              Dispatches “The true cost of Green energy” Channel 4 on catch up…

              Sher please stick to the article. More support for shale gas in the U.K…

            • Sher and Phil you two are not engaging in the topic

              Gas is keeping the people of this planet alive yesterday today and tomorrow

              The article states that support for shale gas in the U.K is rising

              Sher you have proved yourself to be a classic nimby disturbing your retirement with no care for the big picture of climate change

              Phil you dream of a utopian world decades in the future with no answers of how to get there, angry that people don’t share your unsustainable and unreliable pipe dreams

              Shale gas is the answer to our declining Offshore gas supply. Intermittent heavily subsidised wind turbines requiring power back up is not the answer that is why the Government stops subsidies this year.

              I have worked in both industries Offshore gas and Offshore wind turbines, that is how I have formed my opinions. How do you come to your conclusions?

              You two have very vague let’s try this or that, give it a chance see how we get on attitudes…

          • I appreciate It’s the weekend Sher but that piece of yours encompasses all that is bad about the anti brigade. I honestly don’t know where to start.

            The story in question we have been debating about

            Ruth has stated the support for shale gas has increased… Your interpretation of how the increase in support is somehow linked to a lowering of awareness seems far fetched or big oil? What’s oil got to do with it?
            Don’t start the Russian thing again please. Nerve agent delivered to the U.K with piped gas and LNG, our supplier of choice?

            So you are saying no to shale but more people are saying yes! Too intrusive? How about 80 metre high wind turbines killing birds and bats overlooking your back garden or fields of solar panels? Too dirty? Kicking coal into the long grass, lowering CO2 emissions, no more LNG cargoes from all over the World. As for taxes the shale gas industry will put £Billions into the Treasury and low cost energy to feed and fuel U.K business and economy. Cuadrilla has already put £Millions into the local economy before producing. Protesters have been draining the local services of £Millions in wasted police presence and put local lives at risk by making 999 calls to request ambulances for fake injuries.

            The line you use about being sensible? What does max out renewables even mean? More subsidies, green taxes on our energy bills to pay green gangsters for intermittent energy that will always need back up? Crazy… Then top up and stretch what gas we have??? That’s something a child would say. In with a chance? Is this some kind of game???

            Remember 85% of the public want to buy British…


            Pushing more gas, cult, destroy life??? Gas is keeping people alive… Heat, cooking source, electricity, plastic toothbrush etc etc…

            Your comments saying the U.K offsets It’s CO2 emissions to other Countries by getting them to produce gas LNG then importing to us is disgusting. Brexit separates us from the EU not the whole planet! You obviously aren’t a paid up member of Greenpeace…

            So to the heart of your motivation, disturbing your retirement… Just another nimby…

            • Please don;t give people labels or make presumption about their lives.
              We have never met and probably never will;
              we have nothing in common.

              Name calling only serves to show up your childish persona.
              We have answered all your assumptions with alternatives and yet you persist in putting the same drivel on post after post after post….you are like a record stuck on replay.

              You lost;

              The world would be lost;
              if cults like yours continue with the sad narratives they promote;
              happily 85% of us don’t buy into your ‘stories’.

        • Kisheny’ that Carbon Brief report needs updating. Firstly – it relates to CO2 only (not methane), and now the improved top down figures for methane emissions are looking reliable enough to add to the carbon totals. Secondly – Methane is 82 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas (in it’s first 20 years , it degrades over time) and the emissions figures both upstream and downstream from gas fields are damning enough. Thirdly – Methane degrades/oxidises into CO2 and so the shorter term, higher impacts are replaced by the longer term CO2 (longer range) impacts. Fourthly – guess what – 2017 is showing an upturn in CO2 again (that website analysis only goes up to 2016) and no doubt some of the new CO2 is coming from the dash for fracked gas (the new HVHF techniques took off around 2008) and its oxidizing methane that will have been building up in the atmosphere for around ten years. Over the years those gases are stirred globally – so much that sources won’t be obvious – that’s why new, more accurate remote sensing from satellites is being developed in earnest. I don’t expect the findings will let off the shale gas industry lightly.

          [Typo corrected at poster’s request]

            • Major ifs and buts there. Its more of admission of guilt that yes, gasfields have been big contributors to atmospheric methane and co2. The truth is catching up! Your boyish enthusiasm and fancy footwork may help keep those plates-on-sticks spinning a bit longer Kishenny but they’ll all come crashing down pretty soon I reckon.

          • There is no guilt in an industry keeping you warm, cooking your food and putting a plastic toothbrush in your mouth.
            It’s a responsible industry adapting to problems and fixing them…

            • Yes. For the time being – our gas isn’t coming from fracking. Lets keep it that way … guilt free. Then work on its gradual phase out.

            • Why keep looking at current figures? Im talking about planning for rhe future… 10, 20, 30 years towards a mixed renewable and hydrogen fuel energy economy with as near zero carbon emissions as possible (especially not from fossil fuels.

              Believe me it would take just as long to get an onshore unconventional fracking infrastructure scaled up … dirty, risky, expensive and with no real guarantee it would be successful or acceptable.

            • The thing is Kish, your cult’s story is dead, like the fossil fuel you try and sadly fail to promote. You’re just wasting digital paper. You lost.
              85% say renewables; 18% say fracking including the 2% who know nothing about fracking………
              You can go on and on and on and on and on and on and on…………
              But no one is reading your book anymore; it’s dropped off the list and is out of publication.

          • Phil I look at today’s figures because that is the real World.

            You say you are looking at 10, 20, 30 years ahead

            That reality of Renewables and Gas providing us with secure reliable energy is just around the corner replacing coal, petrol and diesel.

            Shale gas has been millions of years in the making and will produce in a few months. When it starts it will be a revolution for the U.K

            Drilled and ready just a few miles from my house…

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