Research

Lancashire tremors push fracking opposition to record high

Wave 31 summary

Public attitudes to shale gas, Wave 31, September 2019. Source: BEIS

Opposition to fracking reached 44%, a record high, in the latest government survey of public attitudes to shale gas.

Support for fracking was at the lowest level since the question was first asked nearly six years ago.

For the first time in the survey, the proportion of opponents was higher than people who said they neither supported nor opposed fracking.

Wave 31 summary line

Attitudes to fracking 2014-2019. Source: BEIS tracker Wave 31 September 2019

The survey, for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), was conducted in September, less than a month after fracking was suspended at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site near Lancashire because of a record-breaking earth tremor.

Since the previous survey in June 2019, Aurora Energy Resources submitted a planning application to drill and frack two wells close to the village of Great Altcar, near Formby in west Lancashire.

The survey was carried out before the government’s recent announcement of a moratorium on fracking and an official report highlighting uncertainties and concerns about fracking.

Opposition to fracking

Wave 31 oppose

Public attitudes to shale gas, Wave 31, September 2019. Source: BEIS

Both total opposition and strong opposition reached record highs in this survey.

Total opposition (44%) was almost 10 percentage points higher than in the previous survey in June 2019 (35%) and 13 percentage points higher than the figure a year ago (31%).

The previous record high, of 40% was in March 2019.

Opposition to fracking, according to the survey is highest among people in social grades AB (53%, compared with 37% in social grades DE).

Regionally, opposition was highest in Scotland (60%), Wales (53%), and north-west England (52%) and lowest in the west midlands (32%) and north east England (34%).

Wave 31 strong oppose

Public attitudes to shale gas, Wave 31, September 2019. Source: BEIS

Strong opposition reached 19%, up seven percentage points on the previous survey (12%). The previous record high had also been in March 2019 (16%)

Why do people oppose fracking?

Wave 31 reasons to oppose

Public attitudes to shale gas, Wave 31, September 2019. Source: BEIS

Risk of earthquakes reached its highest figure since the question was first asked nearly four years ago. This was up 12 percentage points on the previous survey in June 2019.

But concerns about loss or destruction of the natural environment remained the most frequently given reason for opposing fracking.

Key reasons

  • Loss or destruction of natural environment 57% (64% in June 2019)
  • Risk of earthquakes 48% (36% in June 2019)
  • Risk of contamination to water supply 22% (23% in June 2019)
  • Too much risk/uncertainty to support 20% (20% in June 2019)
  • Not a safe process 26% (23% in June 2019)
  • Should focus on developing renewables 16% (21% in June 2019)
  • Negative impact on climate change 18% (20% in June 2019)
  • Use of chemicals in the process 16% (15% in June 2019)

Support for fracking

Wave 31 support

Public attitudes to shale gas, Wave 31, September 2019. Source: BEIS

Total support for fracking – at 11% – was the lowest recorded in the survey. It was down 4 percentage points from the previous survey (15%) and down 18 percentage points from the highest level recorded in March 2014 (29%).

The previous low in March 2019 (12%) corresponded with another record high for opposition to fracking.

Wave 31 strrong support

Public attitudes to shale gas, Wave 31, September 2019. Source: BEIS

The proportion of people who said they strongly supported fracking fell to 1%, down from 2%, a level held in the previous five surveys where the question was asked.

The highest ever level for strong support was 6%, recorded when the question was first asked in December 2013. 1% strong support was previously recorded in the survey two years ago.

Why do people support fracking?

Wave 31 reasons to support

Public attitudes to shale gas, Wave 31, September 2019. Source: BEIS

In the reasons given to support fracking, there were increases for need to use all available energy sources and reduce dependence on other fossil fuels.

Other reasons saw falls including won’t affect me/my local area  and may result in cheaper energy bills.

Key reasons

  • Need to use all available energy sources 40% (37% in June 2019)
  • Reduces dependence on other fossil fuels 31% (24% in June 2019)
  • Reduces dependence on other countries for UK’s energy supply 23% (22% in June 2019)
  • May result in cheaper energy bills 17% (21% in June 2019)
  • Good for local jobs and investment 24% (20% in June 2019)
  • Will have a positive impact on UK economy 10% (16% in June 2019)
  • Will have a positive impact on climate change 10% (12% in June 2019)

“The more you know, the less you like it”

Among people who said they knew a little or a lot about fracking, 59% opposed, 8% supported and 28% did not know or did not express an opinion.

Among people who said they didn’t know what fracking was or had never heard of it, 20% opposed, 8% supported and 72% said did not know or did not express an opinion

Total awareness of shale gas remained at 78%, the figure recorded in the previous four surveys.

wave 31 awareness

Public attitudes to shale gas, Wave 31, September 2019. Source: BEIS

According to the survey, awareness of fracking was highest among:

  • Men (84%, compared with 73% for women)
  • People aged 55 and over (89%, compared with 63% for people aged 16-24)
  • People in social grades AB (92%, compared with 65% for people in social grades DE)
  • People living in south west England (88%) and Scotland (87%), compared with people living in London (61%)

Polarised opinions

Wave 31 gap

Public attitudes to shale gas, Wave 31, September 2019. Source: BEIS

Opinions appear to have widened since previous surveys

The gap between opponents and supporters reached a record 33%, up from 20% in June 2019.

 

 

 

People who said they neither supported nor opposed fell to 43%. This is a record low, last seen four years ago.

In all previous surveys, the proportion of people who said they neither supported nor opposed was the largest percentage.

The main reason for neither supporting nor opposing fracking was not knowing enough about it (77%).

There was also a fall in the proportion who said “don’t know”

Methodology

Data for the survey, Wave 31, is based on 4,201 face-to-face in-home interviews with a representative sample of UK adults aged 16 and over on 11-22 September 2019.

Interviews were carried out using the Kantar UK Omnibus, which uses a random location quota sampling method.

All charts use data from the Wave 31 survey by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

20 replies »

  1. As the British Geological Survey categorise all the seismic activity around the Cuadrilla fracking site as being man made earthquakes, in short Hydrofracs, please could we refer to them as such?

    Also I wonder how many people are against the fracking industry because of the ridiculous amount of our drinking water it destroys? We are supposed to be heading for serious problems with the availability of drinking water in the near future after all!

    I wonder how much drinking water Cuadrilla have already wasted in total between drilling or/and fracking Grange Road, Anna’s Road, Preese Hall and Preston New Road?

    I wonder where the drinking water supplies were supposed to come from to lubricate the several thousand other fracking wells around Lancashire?

    The whole concept was fatally flawed from the beginning!

    Never mind though it’s kept Francis Egan, a few dozen security staff, a few hundred police officers and dozens of journalists in a job for a few years!

    Shame it’s driven many local residents to the point of physical and mental health breakdown in the meantime!

    • PR Hydrofrac is a process – hydraulic fracturing. It is not an earthquake. It may cause seismicity or may not. None of the hydraulic fracturing I have undertaken had caused seismic events that were detectable at surface.

  2. Very relevant points made regarding water however I don’t think we can underestimate the effect this whole deplorable business has had on the mental health of the local community who have been belittled, bullied and traumatised over the past years and in particular since Cuadrilla started up the frack pad at Preston New Road. Add to that the overzealous policing that has resulted in personal injury to those protecting their environment.

  3. So, there are still over 50% of those surveyed who DO NOT OPPOSE!

    Goodness, anyone would think it is not a very big issue for the majority-BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THE DATA INDENTIFIES.

    I can understand Peter and his issues as he is a local with strong views, but it shows quite clearly that is not the majority.

    • Still at it Martin? Oppose = 44%
      Support = 11%
      Neither. = 45%
      Presumably your over 50% figure is made up of 11% support plus the 45% neither which equals 55% WHO DO NOT OPPOSE.
      By your reckoning we could also say there are 44% oppose plus the 45% neither which equals 89% WHO DO NOT SUPPORT.

  4. Fortunately for those that pollsters that don’t yet oppose, I deduce that the majority will live in areas that don’t believe fracking will affect them. Sadly they may be incorrect because shortages of drinking water supplies will ultimately affect us all as has been evidenced around the American Oil and Gas Industry locations.

    Not only that, should industrial scale fracking commence on the Fylde, based on our experience resulting from Cuadrilla’s half assed attempts at test fracking just a few stages of two horizontal wells, the likelihood is that swarms of property damaging high intensity earthquakes will strike areas between the Irish Sea and the Pennine Hills.

  5. Some people simply wish to misinterpret results to justify their own drowning man arguments.

    “Among people who said they didn’t know what fracking was or had never heard of it, 20% opposed, 8% supported and 72% said did not know or did not express an opinion”

    So the Luddite and vested interest pro-o&g lobby are only too happy to keep people in the dark. Although even then opposition is winning the day, for very good reasons.

    Thank goodness the cowboy operators have bumped the public interest and public awareness.

    The implied accusation that folk like Peter is a NIMBY is just one more pathetic argument the losers can be expected to continue employing. Even the right-wing Spectator has just commented that the real arguments against fracking were won years ago.

  6. And now, over a month after survey, even the government has doubts about fracking. As it stands government says it is unsafe.

  7. What a load of fog about what is quite clear.

    THE MAJORITY DO NOT OPPOSE!

    Quite simple. Would someone like to show how that statement is untrue?? If so, please detail if you have ever commissioned a public opinion survey, and if you have that history, whether anyone trusted you with a budget to commission another one!

    No alteration of the data, no misinterpretation, just stating what is there. So, no they have not “bumped the public interest and the public awareness” across the country (well, not as much as some would like) although Peter obviously sees the local picture.

    So, opposition is not winning the day. It would need to be above 50% for that to be true.

    Pauline-we have had that chat before. You will not get many supporting something until they see what it offers to them. So, the low level of support is hardly that much of a surprise. What I believe is interesting is that the level against has not changed that much in light of all the recent events.

    Some may wish to imply different, but that is what the data shows.

    • So by that argument consider the Earth’s atmosphere:

      “By volume, dry air contains 78.09% nitrogen, 20.95% oxygen, 0.93% argon, 0.04% carbon dioxide, and small amounts of other gases. Air also contains a variable amount of water vapor, on average around 1% at sea level, and 0.4% over the entire atmosphere. Air composition, temperature, and atmospheric pressure vary with altitude, and air suitable for use in photosynthesis by terrestrial plants and breathing of terrestrial animals is found only in Earth’s troposphere and in artificial atmospheres.”

      Therefore if the Martian Chronos Chemical Chronicle’s logic were to be attributed to atmospheric gases, then only 20.9% of the atmosphere is oxygen and wishes to remain so, but 78.9% of the atmosphere is nitrogen, 0.93% is argon, and 0.04% carbon dioxide and the rest trace elements and water vapour (which also contains oxygen)

      So by the Martian Chronos Chemical Chronicle’s analysis, that would be that although only 0.04% are positively carbon dioxide, and we could say for this example, voted to be so, and 20.95% oxygen opposes being carbon dioxide and prefers to be oxygen and we could say voted to be so, and wants to oppose being carbon dioxide and said so. Then the entire rest of the atmosphere must be agreeing with carbon dioxide and therefore 79.01% of the atmosphere…..

      ……(warning! i am about to “shout”)…..

      THE MAJORITY OF ATMOSPHERIC CONSTITUENTS DO NOT OPPOSE CARBON DIOXIDE!…….??!!!

      You could use all sorts on analogies for similar statistics, but it does not say anything but utter misrepresentation of the truth. Each element is entirely different and does not support or even reference any of the other elements. to try to infer support or opposition to entirely different elements in any statistical analysis is pure bunkum, or should i say shukum. I doubt that any statistical analysis would convince anyone that such a claim of support due to absence of opposition is anything but sheer desperate fantasy and fabrication.

      Evidence of absence of support is not absence of evidence to the contrary.

      I did enjoy that!

      Next!

      [Typos corrected at poster’s request]

  8. Well, if you confuse yourself, just think how others feel!

    Not to worry. Maybe sort out the red diesel mystery prior to embarking upon anything more complicated?

    “Would someone like to show how that statement is untrue?”

    And what do we get-fog generation (after three attempts) to try and deflect.

    Still waiting.

    • Ha! Gotcha!

      And, there you have it ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Fascinating isnt it. When there is no counter argument to offer at all. And the spurious shouted statistical fantasy claims are seen by all to be merely desperation diversion, deflection and fabrication. As they have been shown to be so here.

      All that is left is to attack words and corrections. Those i freely make without hindrance or comment from such as those who cannot or will not self correct themselves. Even when it screams to be corrected.

      Funny isn’t it.

      That is all it has to say. No change there.

      Fortunately most of us don’t sit behind a desk all day trawling for words in order to misrepresent anything said in lieu of saying anything relevant or intelligible on the subject. Apparently some do, as we can see there quite clearly.

      There are of course those who cannot self correct or will not self correct themselves no matter how wrong they are……

      And then of course, we get the pettyfogging resort yet again to repeat all those discredited empty fixated little trigger words and fantasies in the vain hope of retrieving some sort of credibility.

      But it doesn’t work does it.

      And all without even mentioning the subject in hand, let alone trying to defend the failure to convince anyone of the shouted claims.

      Sad isn’t it.

      The only fog generation anyone sees here, is a desperate deflection and diversion when its claims are revealed for what they are.

      Evidence of absence of support is not absence of evidence to the contrary.

      (cover your ears, i am going to shout again)

      THE MAJORITY DO NOT SUPPORT THE CLAIM MERELY BECAUSE THEY SHOW NO EVIDENCE TO OPPOSE. POLARISATIONS ARE NOT RELEVANT TO INDICATE SUPPORT OR OPPOSITION IN ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. CASE DISMISSED. OR PROVIDE EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY.

      Sorry about the shouting.

      No proof of those shouted statistical fantasy claims yet then?

      Still waiting…..

    • Ha! Ha! Still no evidence to refute to your figures from the Martian Chronicles, Pauline.

      We are seeing the standard Martian Chronicles procedure. If truth is too painful. Then descend into denial. If descent into denial is not working, then descend into that old favourite illusory fixation.

      Fog.

      If fog be the denial of truth, give me less of it. If truth be the denial of fog, give me excess of It. Away with fog and rumours of fog.

      An end to this pettyfogging Martian nonsense.

      Have a nice evening, to children, everywhere.

      • I have noticed that every time the results of this survey are published, Martin trots out the same old codswallop. I have also noticed that he never receives support from anyone else. You are definitely in the MINORITY Martin

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