The energy industry must emphasize lower bills as well as job creation if it wants UK public support for fracking, according to a consumer survey published Thursday by market research firm Viewbank.
The research, conducted in the wake of high-profile protests against possible fracking for shale oil in West Sussex, England, by Cuadrilla Resources, shows that 67 percent of adults would support fracking if it delivered lower bills and 64 percent would support it if it created jobs. Around 65 percent of those surveyed would back fracking if it was proved to be important for delivering future energy needs.
However, the research also showed that only 39 percent of consumers believe fracking will cut household energy bills and 42 percent believe the activity will cause environmental damage.
A telling statistic from the survey was that only 16 percent of respondents would definitely support fracking near to where they live, although another 41 percent said they would need to find out more before accepting fracking in their area.
Viewsbank's David Black commented in a statement:
"The fracking debate has been widely aired in the media but it is clear that people do not consider themselves particularly well-informed. Proponents and opponents can both take positives from the research.
"Many remain undecided but there is a definite undercurrent that people are happy to support fracking just as long as it is not in their backyard."
Ken Cronin, chief executive of the UK Onshore Operators Group, commented:
"The survey by Viewsbank is interesting in that it indicates that the majority of people are either in favour of shale gas exploration or have an open mind towards exploration activity in their local area.
"The onshore oil and gas industry is committed to engaging with local communities to ensure that that shale gas can be extracted with the minimum of impact to the environment and to people's everyday lives."
At the start of September, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne reiterated the goverment's support for fracking in the UK and that it wanted fracking "done in a way where communities gets the benefit of what's happening in their backyard". In July, the government announced a scheme that would ensure local communities would receive at least $150,000 of benefits from operators for every fracked well site.
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