ANTI-fracking campaigners have hailed a Government report which they say shows public support for fracking has fallen.
Residents say that the latest in a series of wide-ranging reports on energy by the Department of Energy and Climate Change shows 19 per cent of people support shale gas energy, with 31 per cent opposing fracking outright. They say it is the highest level of opposition yet since the Government starting surveying public opinions on energy in its Public Attitudes Tracker in 2012.
Protestors added that the questionnaire survey showed support for renewable energy in contrast was “consistently high”, with 81 per cent of people supporting the use of renewables and opposition was “very low”.
Claire Stephenson, from Preston New Road Action Group, said: “This survey shows that the UK Government has lost the argument on fracking, despite the millions spent on PR campaigns by the fracking industry and their friends in power, the public’s opposition to fracking is growing while national support for the industry dwindles. The only way the Conservative government could commence fracking is by forcing it on communities against their wishes and bypassing democratically-elected councillors.
“With support for clean renewable energy at record levels, it seems the general public is way ahead of the Government in understanding the real solutions to the UK’s energy security.”
John Hobson, of Defend Lytham, said: “It is clear from the DECC Wave Surveys that public opinion on fracking is moving in one direction and one direction only.
“Opposition to fracking has been shown to be linked to awareness as people learn more about the issues involved.
“It is time that the Government stopped banging their heads against this particular wall and spent time and energy working on a coherent and sustainable energy policy.”
However, Cuadrilla, the company which has applied to drill and test frack for gas in Lancashire, said the survey highlighted other issues which had to be taken into account.
A spokesman said: “This research shows that two thirds of people are concerned that we cannot heat ourselves and keep the lights on, and nearly half are worried that we are too dependent on gas imports from abroad.
“The solution is to source energy from the ground beneath our feet in Lancashire.
“We also recognise the industry must continue efforts to ensure that factual evidence-based information is accessible to the public rather than scaremongering and myths.”