UK public's support for fracking hits record low, renewables support surges - survey

A fracking rig stands outside the Houses of Parliament during an anti-fracking protest by Greenpeace activists in London, Britain February 9, 2016. © Stefan Wermuth
Public support for fracking has hit a record low among Brits, while support for the use of renewable energy has reached an all-time high, according to a new government survey.

The Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) public attitudes tracker has revealed a dramatic shift in Britons’ feelings about energy issues in the last few years.

After surveying 2105 households, the DECC found that just 19 percent respondents claimed they supported fracking, down from 23 percent last December. The percentage of those who said they oppose fracking has also risen to 31 percent.

READ MORE: ‘Wake-up call’: Study finds fracking can pollute underground drinking water

However, nearly half the community remained ambivalent about shale gas exploration, with 46 percent saying they had never heard of it or were unsure of what it was.

The practice, which involves drilling water, sand and chemicals into the ground at high pressures to release gas reserves from rock formations, has been linked to earthquakes, aquifer contamination, toxic chemical leaks, air pollution and increased road traffic.

A spokesman for DECC insisted the government would continue to make the case for fracking.

"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 per cent) said that they do not know a lot about it.”

"This is exactly why we want people to have access to all the facts so they can see past the myths and understand the benefits which include greater energy security, more jobs and growth."

Eighty-one percent of respondents claimed that they are in full support of green energy. Since the DECC began conducting the surveys in 2012, support for renewables has hovered between 75 and 80 percent.

"It's great that the British public sees how renewable energy is helping to grow the UK economy," said "Renewables are delivering investment and jobs throughout our country,” Renewable's UK Chief Executive Hugh McNeal said.

The results come as Oscar-winning actress and anti-fracking activist Emma Thompson made headlines earlier this week with a protest stunt spoofing ‘British Bake-Off’. Thompson and fellow Greenpeace campaigners broke an injunction to film ‘A Frack Free Bake Off’ on land leased for fracking. A 2014 court order banned protesters from the land.