Support for extracting shale gas in the UK has “dropped significantly” in the last year, driven largely by women.
That’s according to a new survey, which has been tracking the public perception of fracking since March 2012.
It found concerns about the potential impact on the environment is beginning to outweigh the possible economic benefits.
The difference between those who support fracking and those who don’t currently stands at 10.4% compared to 21% in September last year and 39.5% in July 2013, it added.
The number of people who associated shale gas with water contamination has risen to 48%, according to researchers at the University of Nottingham.
They also found a sharp gender divide, with 31.5% of women in favour compared to 58% of men.
While the public still believe shale gas will bring economic benefits to the country and a large number of people see it as a cheap form of energy, many also believe it is the “least acceptable” form on energy source.
The report stated: “This drop is driven largely by women firming up their view on this issue and becoming increasingly opposed to shale gas. If the government pushes forwarded with its plans to fast track shale gas developments, it must be prepared for significant levels of opposition from grass roots activists.”
The survey of more than 6,700 people was conducted last month.
Earlier this year the UK Government said planning applications to frack will be fast-tracked.