Survey shows 57% of Britons support natural gas from shale

Paul Boughton

A new public opinion poll reveals that natural gas production from shale enjoys widespread backing across the country, with more than three times as many supporting production than opposing.

The Populus survey of 4,000 adults, commissioned by UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), also finds overwhelming support for reducing Britain’s reliance on gas imports from overseas, which are rising rapidly as North Sea production declines.

This survey is one of the largest polls on the issue. The key findings of the research include:

• Overall support for shale gas production: 57% support the production of natural gas from shale in the UK, compared with 16% who oppose and 27% who are undecided.

• Reducing reliance on gas imports: 67% agree that Britain needs to produce its own energy so it isn’t reliant on gas from other countries, compared with just 1% who disagree. National Grid has forecast that without natural gas from shale production, Britain will import up to 91% of its gas by 2035.

• Support for shale gas development alongside renewable energy: 59% would be willing to see natural gas from shale production go ahead as long as it forms part of a mix that includes renewable energy sources, with only 12% disagreeing.

• New infrastructure needed: 47% agree that the UK needs to invest in a whole range of new infrastructure, including housing, roads and railways, airport capacity and new energy sources, with only 5% disagreeing.

• Underground land access: 42% agree with the Government’s planned changes to underground land access, compared with 16% who disagree. The changes are designed to bring oil and gas and geothermal energy production into line with other essential services that have rights of underground access, including water and sewage pipelines and coal mines.

Commenting on the findings, Ken Cronin, Chief Executive of UKOOG, said: “This survey shows that most people across the country think that shale gas should be developed. More than four out of five of us heat our homes with gas, and Britain’s shale resource gives us the opportunity to become less dependent on foreign energy supplies, create tens of thousands of jobs and support our manufacturing industries.

“Shale gas and renewables are complementary, and our survey confirms that the public would like to see a balanced mix that includes both sources of energy. Whilst these results are positive, our industry needs to continue to do all it can to listen to and engage with the views of local communities.”

UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG) is the trade association representing the UK’s onshore oil and gas industry. Membership is open to all companies active in the onshore industry including those involved in the supply chain. For more details, visit 

Populus interviewed 4,086 adults in Great Britain online between 13 and 19 June 2014, and the results were weighted to be demographically representative of all adults in Great Britain. The full results tables  can also be found HERE

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