A SURVEY by fracking firm Cuadrilla has claimed there is “strong local support” for shale gas drilling.
Cuadrilla Resources stopped “fracking” at a site in Banks last June while the department for energy and climate change looked into whether the process caused minor earthquakes in Blackpool.
The company is currently waiting to hear if it will be given the go-ahead to restart its operations.
BritainThinks was commissioned by the firm to undertake the survey, which found that 44 per cent of 1,000 people interviewed across Blackpool, Fylde and West Lancashire supported continued local exploration to understand the potential of shale gas.
A total of 23% were opposed and 33% undecided according to the survey.
Cheaper energy and job creation were seen as potential benefits while earth tremors and water pollution were seen as the main risks. Overall knowledge levels were found to be low with 48% of people saying they know “very little” or nothing about shale gas, with 15% knowing a lot.
Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla Resources, said: “There are claims made that Lancastrians are against shale exploration and development, but this research provides a more accurate perspective.
“We commissioned this survey to increase our understanding of local sentiments about shale gas.
“It’s clear that, while many people support our plans, others either haven’t made up their minds about or want more information.”
But protest group Ribble Estuary Against Fracking (REAF) said that the most important finding was that nearly half of respondents knew very little or nothing about fracking but were still asked their opinion.
A spokesman said: “Two of the most important and worrying issues in this whole debate revolve around the adequacy of the regulatory environment and any potential health impacts and are not mentioned in the list of potential disadvantages. We are disappointed that a survey that wants to be taken seriously does not mention either of those two issues anywhere and we would suggest that if they had been it might well have been a greater cause for concern.”