Cuadrilla's attempts to explore for shale gas in Balcombe, West Sussex, attracted large protests last year

Official figures undermine fracking industry claims of support

The government’s latest figures show less than a quarter of the population support fracking, contradicting an industry-funded survey earlier this week.

A survey carried out by Populus on behalf of UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) released yesterday found that 57 per cent of the 4,000 people surveyed expressed their support for the controversial technology, with only 16 per cent against its use.

But the latest figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change’s 'Public Attitudes Tracker' published today show public endorsement for fracking dropped 5 per cent from 29 per cent back in March.

Question’s in the UKOOG’s survey were criticised by Green Party MP Caroline Lucas for being "quite dubious in the way they were phrased" and the results were described as “wildly optimistic” by Greenpeace.

Greenpeace UK chief scientist Dr Doug Parr said: "Less than a quarter of the British public now support fracking generally, and there is even less support when drilling happens locally. Shale drilling is far less popular than clean alternatives like solar and wind, yet it enjoys preferential treatment from ministers.

"The government’s official numbers contrast sharply with the dubious figures from the industry released yesterday, and cannot disguise how Cameron’s ‘all out for shale’ push is turned into a politically toxic mix of hype, spin and secrecy."

According to the latest government figures, 74 per cent of people had some awareness of shale gas, 24 per cent of people said they support shale gas extraction, 47 per cent say they neither support nor oppose it, and 24 per cent are opposed.

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