Nearly half (47%) of Brits wouldn’t be happy for shale gas drilling to take place within 10 miles of their homes, a new survey reveals.
They are fearful of the damage fracking could cause to the local environment, the chemicals used, health risks and contamination of drinking water as well as the associated noise and disruption, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) found.
Only around a quarter (14%) of people said they would be happy to have a local fracking site, citing energy security, local jobs and skills development opportunities as well as the potential fall in energy bills as the most popular reasons.
The poll also found only 30% of people have a “good understanding” of what fracking is compared to 40% who said they had “some understanding” while the rest had “little or no understanding”.
The findings follows the UK Government’s announcement that local councils could get incentives for approving fracking projects.
Dr Tim Fox, Head of Energy and Environment at IMechE said: “These poll results suggest that simply offering money to local councils and communities is not enough to convince the public about the benefits of fracking for gas and that much more work needs to be done to engage with citizens on this potential activity. Building trust between Government, industry and communities is essential if we wish to make use of this technique in shale rocks under the UK.”
A study to find out what skills the UK shale gas industry will need in the coming years was launched this week.