Public recognises need to reduce reliance on gas from overseas, fracking survey finds

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NATURAL GAS production from shale enjoys widespread backing across the country with more than three times as many supporting production as opposing, according to a new survey poised to boost proposals for commercial fracking.

Trade association the UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), which represents the nation’s onshore oil and gas industry, claimed the findings indicate widespread support for reducing Britain’s reliance on gas imports from overseas.

The study found that 57 per cent of people support the production of natural gas from shale in the UK, compared with 16 per cent who oppose and 27 per cent who are undecided.

Populus, which was commissioned to carry out the survey of 4,000 adults, on behalf of commissioned by UKOOG also found that more than two thirds (67 per cent) agree that Britain needs to produce its own energy so it is not reliant on gas from other countries, compared with just 1 per cent who disagree.

Meanwhile, 59 per cent say they would be willing to see natural gas from shale production go ahead as long as it forms part of a mix that includes renewable energy sources.

Ken Cronin, chief executive of UKOOG, said: “This survey shows that most people across the country think that shale gas should be developed.

“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.

The news comes after anti-fracking protesters claimed the country’s most precious landscapes were at risk from the controversial process.

Last month they dismissed new guidelines from the Government, which say areas of outstanding natural beauty and world heritage sites should be refused other than in “exceptional circumstances and in the public interest”, as a “sham”. Earlier this year opposing sides made their case when The Yorkshire Post held a live debate on fracking.

“Whilst these results are positive, our industry needs to continue to do all it can to listen to and engage with the views of local communities,” added Mr Cronin.