A poll conducted by the UK’s Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) has found 13 per cent of British people think the government is listening to them on the issue of fracking.
The survey was carried out by public opinion company YouGov on behalf of the CPRE, one of the UK’s longest-running environmental pressure groups. It found low levels of public support for fracking, the process of forcing fractures in layers of rock in order to extract oil by injecting fluid at high pressure; with 24 per cent of the 1,600 respondents saying they would support the weakening of current regulations on fracking, which compel companies to stop fracking exercises immediately if they cause an earthquake with a Richter scale magnitude of 0.5 or higher.
54 per cent of those surveyed thought the UK government should take the concerns of the general public and local residents into account when reviewing fracking regulations, with only four per cent saying the opinions of the fracking industry itself should be prioritised. However only 13 per cent said they felt the government was listening to the public; while 51 per cent said they felt actively ignored by the government on the issue.
Tom Fyans, Deputy Chief Executive at CPRE, said: “The public has made it abundantly clear that they do not want earthquake regulations to be weakened. But given that they don’t believe that the government is listening to their concerns over fracking – at a time when we are facing the unprecedented threat of climate change – it is imperative that action is taken to restore public faith. If the government rolls over on this latest bout of industry lobbying and relaxes these standards to make way for more fracking – which exist to protect the public, our countryside and environment – it will only ramp up public opposition to new heights. At a time when government proposals threaten to impose fast-tracked fracking over communities’ heads, it is crucial that it reassures the public that it is taking their concerns seriously.”
The UK government has said it does not intend to review current regulations on fracking, which were put in place after extensive consultation with the industry. CPRE has urged the government to release a definitive statement confirming that it will not weaken the regulations.