Public Support for Fracking Hits All Time Low as Industry Promotes Post-Brexit Prospects

Fracking protest poster

The British public remains staunchly opposed to fracking, despite the government’s best efforts to back the fledgling industry.

New government figures show only 17 percent of the British public supports the practice, while 33 percent of respondents say they are against it.

That’s the lowest level of support for fracking since the government’s own survey began.

The findings mirror another recent poll that shows the public is hardening its opposition to shale gas extraction.

In contrast, support for the UK’s clean energy resources remains high. Almost 80 percent of the public say they support the use of renewables. Only 2 percent of people are opposed to onshore wind, despite the government’s reluctance to support the technology.

Despite this public vote of confidence in decarbonisation, the government remains committed to exploring ways to maximise the UK’s domestic shale gas resources.

The Communities Secretary, Sajid Javid, recently gave the go ahead for fracking in Lancashire, overturning a planning decision that was holding up the industry.

And fossil fuel industry representatives today told Lords that the UK’s decision to leave the EU could represent a fresh opportunity to develop the UK’s domestic shale gas resources.

Speaking to a House of Lords’ EU External Affairs Sub-Committee inquiry, Michael Tholen from industry group Oil and Gas UK said the government must now develop a strategy for domestic shale gas extraction.

The UK’s energy and regulatory policy are creating an opportunity to access the UK’s onshore oil and gas resources, and are still changing. And we may find those continue to diverge from Europe post-Brexit,” he said.

Experts just yesterday expressed concern that leaving the EU could lead to weakened environmental regulations, opening the door for fracking.

So while the public remains resoundingly against fracking, the government remains open to hearing how Brexit creates opportunities to get the industry up and running.

Main image: Matt Brown, via Flickr. CC BY.

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