More than half of Britons support the extraction of shale gas with less than a fifth of the UK population opposed to tapping the unconventional resource, an industry-funded survey has found.
Some 57% of respondents said they think shale gas production should go ahead while only 16% are opposed, according to the survey of 4000 adults commissioned by operators’ group UK Onshore Oil & Gas (UKOOG).
UKOOG chief executive Ken Cronin said that the results showed that a majority of Britons were in favour of the development of shale gas, which he said offered benefits to the UK in terms of energy security, jobs and manufacturing industry support.
“Shale gas and renewables are complementary, and our survey confirms that the public would like to see a balanced mix that includes both sources of energy,” he added.
The poll, which was conducted online by research consultancy Populus in mid-June, also found significant support for plans to change the law on underground land access.
The proposals to remove the requirement for landowners’ permission to drill horizontally under land were supported by 42% of those polled with 16% against.
Two-thirds of respondents agreed that the UK needed to produce its own energy so it is not reliant on gas imports.
Asked if they would be willing to see shale gas developed as long as it was part of an energy mix that included renewables, 59% were in favour and 12% against.
Six in ten respondents agreed that it was OK for shale gas to go ahead in the UK as long as it is strongly regulated, while 13% disagreed and 27% are either neutral or don’t know.
The report found a variation of less than 10% across the regions of the UK, with London support the lowest at 52% and highest in the north-east at 62%.
Opposition was strongest in Scotland at 20% and lowest in the north-east at 11%.
The most undecided respondents were in London at 32% and fewest in Wales at 22%.