A war of words has broken out over claims the overwhelming majority of people in Lancashire want a moratorium on fracking until more research is available on the impacts of the controversial industry.
The fresh poll of 500 Lancashire residents released today shows nearly two thirds (63 per cent) are in favour of a fracking ban, with an even stronger majority (69 per cent) saying more time should be allowed for a public debate to take place before planning authorities decide on drilling licences.
The Redshift Research survey for Greenpeace UK also strongly suggests fracking may play a significant role in the 2015 election race.
Local voters are three times more likely to back an anti-fracking candidate than a pro-shale one, indicating that those against shale drilling are more willing to make this an election issue than those in favour of it.
But a spokesman for gas exploration company Cuadrilla said: “The claims made by Greenpeace contradict a much larger local poll carried out at the same time.
“Last month a Johnston Press survey of over 6,000 Lancashire Evening Post readers found that 57 per cent thought shale gas exploration should progress.
“Furthermore local election results for two candidates who stood in Lancashire on an anti-fracking ticket were just 25 and 53 votes.”