Survey finds low public support for relaxing UK fracking rules

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22nd August 2019 11:15 - Oil and Gas

Survey finds low public support for relaxing fracking rules: While there are calls from the UK shale gas industry to relax the rules and regulations around hydraulic fracturing, a recent major survey conducted by academics at five UK universities has found little public support. 

The UK National Survey of Public Attitudes Towards Shale Gas report polled 2,777 people across the UK and found the number who want to see fracking rules relaxed is very low, with just 22% in support of the Government increasing the seismic activity threshold. Currently, fracking must cease temporarily if tremors are detected at 0.5 magnitude while tests are conducted. Just 8% said the current traffic light system for monitoring and regulating seismic activity is too strict. 

Looking at support for fracking overall, the study found that more than half the respondents polled (56%) were opposed to the process of extracting shale gas to be used as a UK energy source, while just under a third (32%) were in support and 12% answered  'don't know'. Seven in ten support UK offshore gas fields, with 59% saying they were in support of onshore drilling in the UK without fracking. Half the respondents said they support European imports, while support for Russian pipeline imports was at less than a quarter (24%).

Public trust and fracking

When it comes to the companies who carry out fracking in the UK, public trust is very low with just 12% saying they trusted businesses involved in shale gas extraction to provide information about fracking. Six out of 10 respondents (61%), however, said that they would trust the British Geological Survey, while slightly less (59%) said they would trust university scientists.

Examining attituides towards who should give authorisation for fracking sites, 41% said they would prefer decisions to be made by local councils, while 11% said they would like the government to take the lead.

Proffesor Lorraine Whitmarsh from Cardiff University, who worked on the survey commented: 

"Our survey shows there is little support for fracking in the UK, and that trust in the industry is low. However, many have not made up their mind and so there is a role for balanced and clear information to inform debate and decision-making about this technology."

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