Public backing for fracking drops to new low

PUBLIC support for fracking has fallen to new lows, a Government survey has revealed.

Protestors take part in a parade against fracking through the streets of Driffield.

Just 17 per cent of people backed the controversial mining method, compared with a third who opposed it, while just under half (48 per cent) had no opinion, the latest figures from the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy show.

The lowest level of support for fracking since the public attitudes tracker started, it comes as campaigners in North Yorkshire await the result of a judicial review next month into whether the local council acted unlawfully in giving Third Energy permission to approve a test drilling site at Kirby Misperton.

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The Government has continued its push to develop a shale industry in the UK, which it claims could boost jobs, the economy and energy security.

Di Keal

Earlier this month ministers allowed a fracking site in Lancashire to go ahead, overturning a decision by the county council.

Friends of the Earth and campaign group Frack Free Ryedale, have jointly bought the case against North Yorkshire County Council which will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice in London on Tuesday, November 22 and Wednesday, November 23.

Campaigner and Ryedale councillor Di Keal said: “Groups like Frack Free Ryedale have been going out and giving talks and letting people know what the true picture is. It’s been huge; I think the powers that be have been taken aback by the strength of feeling.

“It is not the usual people you would associate with protest - there are farmers, businessmen big landowners, people right across the board.

Di Keal

“It’s a broad church of protest and I think that is why we have been successful.”

Support for renewables remained high, with almost eight in 10 (79 per cent) backing the clean technologies, and just one in 25 (4 per cent) opposed. Only one per cent strongly opposed renewables.

The survey of 2,080 UK households found that 71 per cent of people backed onshore wind - the highest level since the tracker began - while 75 per cent were in favour of offshore wind, and 82 per cent backed solar.

The poll, conducted shortly after the Government finally gave the go-ahead to a new nuclear power plant at Hinkley Point, Somerset, also saw support for nuclear energy fall to 33 per cent, from 36 per cent three months earlier.

Juliet Davenport, chief executive of Good Energy, said: “Renewable energy still remains the UK’s favourite form of energy - it’s local, it’s sustainable and it’s pioneering.

“Government should listen to public opinion, champion renewable energy and throw its weight behind tackling climate change.”