Government survey which is repeated every few months has revealed that public enthusiasm for the controversial energy extraction method of fracking in the UK has hit a new low after falling steadily in the past 2 years whilst backing for clean renewable energy solutions has risen dramatically hitting a record high.
This so-called ‘pro-green energy’ Government has consistently supported shale gas as a future homegrown energy source, whilst at the same time cutting subsidies for solar and wind power.
In April 2014, support for fracking was at a high of 29% which has now fallen to just 19%. The percentage against fracking has risen to 31% whilst the proportion neither for or against has remained largely stable at 46%.
The news follows a protest by actor and anti-fracking campaigner Emma Thompson who broke an injunction to film a mock Great British Bake-Off film with Greenpeace on shale gas explorer Cuadrilla’s site in Lancashire. The stunt prompted the farmer who owned the land to drive-by in his tractor spreading slurry close to the filming.
The next big planning decision on fracking is on 20th May when North Yorkshire county council will decide whether to approve an application by Third Energy to frack at Kirby Misperton. Cuadrilla meanwhile is appealing a rejection by Lancashire county council last summer.
A Decc spokesman said “These findings show that half of the people asked still don’t have a view on fracking, but more importantly that the vast majority (88%) said that they do not know a lot about it. This is exactly why we want people to have access to all the facts.”
Recent government statistics also show that there is now 9.5GW of solar power installed in the UK, which is up by nearly a fifth since last year. Approximately half of this is in the form of big solar farms (greater than 5MW) which Minsters including the environment secretary have attacked and undercut with subsidy changes.
Juliet Davenport OBE, chief executive of green energy company Good Energy said “The message from the British public is loud and clear. 81% of us back renewables for our energy – people want to see a transition to a renewable future here in the UK.”
Last year’s historic climate change agreement in Paris and the recent signing of the deal may also have given a small fillip to public concern on climate change, which was up slightly in earlier polling, from 66% to 70%.