Support for UK fracking drops to 24%, DECC survey finds.

Telegraph: “Support for fracking in the UK has fallen, with less than a quarter of the public now in favour of extracting shale gas to meet the country’s energy needs, according to official government polling.”
The latest Department of Energy and Climate Change public opinion tracker, published on Tuesday, shows that public support and opposition is now evenly matched at 24 per cent, while almost half of respondents said they were neutral on the issue.
The findings stand in contrast to those of a poll published on Monday by the UK Onshore Operators Group, which represents fracking firms, which found that 57 per cent were in favour and just 16 per cent against.
Respondents to the DECC survey, which has polled opinion on shale gas since December 2013, were given a brief explanation of fracking, asked whether they had heard of it previously, and then asked if they supported or opposed its use.
The latest research, conducted in June by research firm TNS, found that support had declined from 29 per cent in March while opposition had risen from 22 per cent. 47 per cent said they neither supported nor opposed fracking, while 4 per cent did not know.
“Awareness of fracking was comparable to that from March 2014; but was coupled with a decline in support for shale gas extraction,” DECC found.
Monday’s UKOOG-commissioned poll was conducted by Populus. It has attracted some criticism for providing respondents with an extensive briefing on shale gas’s potential benefits immediately before asking them: “From what you know, do you think the UK should produce natural gas from shale?”
UKOOG said it had offered a “don’t know” option but not given its respondents a “neutral” option as it “wanted to get a clear view of people’s attitudes if they had to make a clear choice, either supporting or opposing shale gas production”.
“A lot of people who would sit on the fence if given the option support shale gas production when asked to make a choice,” UKOOG said.
A DECC spokesperson said: “71 per cent of people either support or are neutral to the idea of shale gas extraction. Shale gas has the potential to benefit local communities and the country; providing a relatively clean home-grown source of energy that would reduce our reliance on imports and create thousands of jobs and new business opportunities.”
Other polling previously has provided conflicting results on fracking. An ongoing poll by the University of Nottingham and YouGov has consistently found that far more people believe fracking should be allowed than not.
The poll has previously found support levels on a par with those found by Populus and UKOOG, but its most recent poll found support has dropped below 50 per cent for the first time.
A separate poll by ICM for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers found that some 47 per cent of respondents would not be happy to have fracking site within 10 miles of their home, while just 14 per cent would be happy.”