Support for shale gas extraction in the UK is growing with 57 per cent of respondents of a new industry survey backing the technology.
With 57 per cent of the 4,000 surveyed expressing their support for the controversial technology and only 16 per cent being against, the study carried out by Populus on behalf of UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) paints a different picture than that conducted earlier this year by YouGov for the University of Nottingham.
"This survey shows that most people across the country think that shale gas should be developed,” said Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG, the trade association representing the UK's onshore oil and gas industry. “More than four out of five of us heat our homes with gas, and Britain's shale resource gives us the opportunity to become less dependent on foreign energy supplies, create tens of thousands of jobs and support our manufacturing industries.”
According to UKOOG, the respondents clearly prefer the controversial technology over increasing energy imports. While 67 per cent of the respondents agree that Britain needs to produce its own energy so it is not reliant on gas from other countries, only 1 per cent said they disagreed.
"Shale gas and renewables are complementary, and our survey confirms that the public would like to see a balanced mix that includes both sources of energy,” Cronin said.
However, in a study published in May by the University of Nottingham, only 49.7 per cent of the British public believed hydraulic fracturing should be allowed in the UK.
Nottingham University monitored the public opinion about fracking for a three-year period and found a sharp decrease in support following last summer’s protests against the deployment of the technology.
The university saw support for shale gas exploration reaching its peak in July 2012, when it was at 58 per cent, with slow decrease over the following year to only 53 per cent this January and only 49 in May.
Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, who was involved in the fracking protests last summer, dismissed the UKOOG poll result as "an absolute outlier" and said she believed some of the questions it asked were "quite dubious in the way they were phrased".
She also criticised the heavy redaction of a government report into the potential impact of fracking on affected areas – including on house prices.