07 FEBRUARY 2019

In another blow to the fracking industry, today’s 28th Wave Tracker from the Department of Business, Energy and Industry’s (BEIS) Quarterly Tracker on Public Attitudes was released, showing increased opposition to fracking, while support for the extraction technique has plummeted again.

Key points to note include:

– a 4% increase in opposition to fracking – 35%, up from 31% in September 2018’s tracker

– a 3% drop in support for fracking – just 13%, down from 15% in the last survey. This is the lowest level of support since the tracker began, with 13% support recorded in 2017

– 40% of respondents cited the risk of earthquakes as a strong reason to oppose fracking.

Support for fracking has dropped since the tracker began in 2014,down from a peak of 29% in March 2014, whereas opposition to shale gas has polled above 30% since March 2016

Public opinion for this poll has clearly been impacted by the 57 seismic events at Cuadrilla’s Preston New Road site, with 40% of respondents citing earthquake risk as a key reason to oppose fracking – this was a dramatic increase, up from 26% in September 2018.

62% of respondents said that loss or destruction of the natural environment was a strong reason to oppose fracking.

Daniel Carey-Dawes, Infrastructure Policy Manager at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said:

“The government has today met its obligation to protect our environment and the public, by refusing to entertain the desperate calls by industry for a relaxation of regulations on seismic activity as a result of fracking.

‘It must now take this damning evidence that fracking does not have the support of the public into consideration as it makes its decision on proposals to fast-track fracking. Perusing this plan would defy local democracy and remove the voices of local communities in decisions over fracking proposals in their area.”

A spokesperson for Frack Free Lancashire said:

“The increased opposition to fracking and drop in support comes as no surprise, considering the large number of seismic events which have been experienced since fracking resumed on the Fylde Coast. Fracking’s unpopularity will also have been increased by people’s distaste for the fracking companies’ bully boy tactics as they have tried to browbeat government into changing the regulations governing the seismic traffic light system.”

Steve Mason from Frack Free United said:

“How can shareholders or any sensible business keep on backing fracking? To continue forging ahead is beginning to look fanatical and totally irresponsible. Fracking is proving to be economically unviable, the industry cannot operate safely under the very same regulations they helped create.
“Fracking threatens industrial wipeout of some of the UK’s most valuable countryside and has no public support. It’s time for a change of direction. Fracking in our communities is never going to be a strategic winner for this country.”


Notes to Editors

1. BEIS Public Attitudes Tracker: Wave 28