A survey commissioned by a shale gas extraction company showed almost half of those questioned knew very little or nothing about the contentious new energy source.
Fracking firm Cuadrilla Resources, which is exploring the potential of sites around the Fylde, found that only 15 per cent knew “a lot” about shale gas.
A further 38 per cent admitted they knew “a little” when they answered questions from London-based research company Britain Thinks.
In response to the telephone survey of 1,000 people in the Blackpool, Fylde and West Lancashire area, 44 per cent said they would support continued local exploration to understand the potential of shale gas.
This was despite the fact that 48 per cent admitted being poorly informed about the process,
In contrast, 23 per cent said they opposed further exploration.
Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla, said: “There are claims made that Lancastrians are against shale exploration and development, but this research provides a more accurate perspective.
“We commissioned this survey to increase our understanding of local sentiments about shale gas. It’s clear that, while many people support our plans, others either haven’t made up their minds or want more information.”
But Tina Rothery, of campaigners Residents Action on Fylde Fracking, said she was concerned that some respondents (11 per cent) believed job creation to be one of the advantages of shale gas. She said: “We know from research that is readily available that there isn’t as much wealth or gas as the shale gas industry is telling us.
“The industry is mainly automated. The drilling is done by experts who are brought in for a short time, with only a few people on site. For those young people who do get a job in this industry it is finite – it will last for 15 or maybe 20 years maximum. Then they have no jobs.”
She said she also had concerns about the way the questions had been put, adding: “I haven’t seen the questions, but the answers would depend on the phraseology and how they were asked.”
In addition to being asked about whether they supported further exploration into shale gas, participants were quizzed on the benefits and risks of shale gas.
They cited cheaper energy (23 per cent) as a positive, and earth tremors (32 percent) and water pollution (11 per cent) as negatives,