Data published by the department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) suggests that despite a higher awareness of fracking, support for the process has fallen 5% in the last year.
Opposition to fracking has hit its highest levels at 33%, whilst those in favour numbered around 16%, the lowest level ever recorded.
Of the 2,097 people surveyed in the Energy and Climate Change Public Attitude Tracker, over three-quarters were aware of fracking; with awareness numbers peaking in the higher social status brackets and with the over 65s. However, only a small number claimed to have in-depth knowledge.
Around half of the respondents had no opinion as to whether they supported or opposed fracking. this is perhaps due in part, to a lack of knowledge and the increasing number of conflicting reports in the media.
Reasons for support varied from the need to use all available sources of energy, to reducing the UK’s dependence on other fossil fuels. The fact that fracking could be beneficial for local jobs (26%) and reduce energy bills (28%), are of lesser importance to the public.
Around 7 in 10 claim the destruction of natural environments was the primary reason for refusing to support fracking, an increase of 12% in the last 12 months. Further opposition centred around potential water supply contamination (25%) and risk of earthquakes (20%).
The majority of neutral respondents claimed their response was due to a lack of knowledge (73%).
In contrast, support for nuclear energy was measured at 35%, more than double that of fracking, compared to 21% who opposed it.
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