Survey reveals growing support for gas exploration in Lancashire
New research from BritainThinks shows that a majority of the public within Cuadrilla’s Bowland Basin licence area support shale gas exploration and the numbers in favour are continuing to rise.
Cuadrilla commissioned leading independent researchers BritainThinks this summer to conduct a survey into the attitudes of local residents in Blackpool, Fylde and West Lancashire; following similar surveys in October and December 2012.
The main findings were:
57% of respondents ‘strongly support’ or ‘support’ shale gas exploration (compared to 44% in October 2012 and 50% in December 2012).
The numbers of people who ‘oppose’ or ‘strongly oppose’ exploration has fallen from 25% in December 2012 to 20% in this latest survey.
Job creation was considered to be the most important potential benefit of exploration according to 47% of respondents.
Protection of water is viewed as the most important issue to address, with 30% of respondents identifying this as their key concern.
Francis Egan, Cuadrilla’s chief executive, said:
“This research by BritainThinks shows that for many people in Lancashire the potential benefits of shale gas exploration become crystal clear, when they consider the facts and the related job creation and economic opportunities. It’s good to see a steady improvement in support, but it’s clear that we need to focus more on the issues that matter most so we can really get to the heart of both what excites and worries people about our proposals as we work to unlock Lancashire’s energy potential.
“One issue that concerns people and is reflected in the findings of this research is around water – an area that we will manage through the highest standards of regulation, well design, and industry best practice. There’s not been a single proven case of fracturing fluid causing contamination of aquifers and scientists are clear that shale gas can be extracted safely in the UK without any danger to the water supply.”
Ben Shimshon, Director at BritainThinks said:
“Support for continued exploration in Lancashire has risen significantly over the ten month period since we conducted our first wave of research. Interestingly, local people’s views on the biggest potential advantages and disadvantages have really shifted over the period too. There’s a real opportunity for Cuadrilla and other organisations involved in the debate to engage with local people in an open, transparent way on both the potential advantages and disadvantages for the area.”