When asked whether they support or oppose extracting shale gas, half of the public (48%) neither supported nor opposed it, with a further 4% saying they did not know whether they supported or opposed.
Of those who offered an opinion, more people were opposed to fracking (36%) than supported it (13%).
These conclusions are published in the latest quarterly public opinion attitude survey by the UK government’s Department for Energy and business (BEIS).
The results are based on 2,105 face-to-face in-home interviews conducted with a representative sample of UK adults aged 16+. Fieldwork was conducted between 27 September 2017 and 1 October 2017 on the Kantar TNS Omnibus, which uses a random location quota sampling method.
The questionnaire was designed by BEIS and Kantar Public drawing on a number of questions from previous surveys. Questions were refined through cognitive testing.
The representativeness of the data was controlled through sample design, fieldwork quotas and post-fieldwork weighting. Data were weighted for the following characteristics: sex, age, social grade, region and tenure.
These findings are significantly at odds with the ‘99% of people’ who responded to a Scot-Govt public consultation about onshore shale gas exploration.
But the Scot-Govt statistics are not designed to be scientific or statistically representative and many of the responses to its consultation – which it nevertheless used to justify its ban on onshore oil and gas drilling – were in effect ‘round-robin’ letters where different respondees sent in pre-formatted comments drafted by professional lobbyists and pressure groups.
Meanwhile, the BEIS survey also shows that support for a range of renewable energy developments remains high:
84% of respondents said they supported solar energy
79% supported both off-shore wind and wave and tidal
74% supported on-short wind, and
69% supported biomass.
Support for the use of nuclear energy has remained fairly stable: 33% supported nuclear energy compared with 25% who were opposed.
Four in ten (40%) selected the neutral or ‘agnostic’ option at this question, to indicate that they neither support nor oppose the use of nuclear energy.
3 Nov 2017