LATEST research shows people in West Lancs feel more knowledgeable about shale gas – although residents are split over proposals for continued exploration in the area.
The results follow last week's announcement from the Department of Energy and Climate Change concerning the hydraulic fracturing of gas exploration wells in Lancashire.
Cuadrilla Resources commissioned BritainThinks to conduct 500 telephone interviews with people living in three council areas – West Lancashire, Blackpool and Fylde.
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The survey was conducted using random digit dial (RDD) methodology.
The purpose of the survey was to understand attitudes about shale gas in the context of recent announcements.
Francis Egan, CEO of Cuadrilla Resources, said: "Clearly the more people hear about and talk about shale gas in Lancashire, the more informed they are about the potential advantages it can bring, as well as the environmental considerations that need to be managed.
“A well-informed community can have the constructive public discourse this industry needs to be successful in the UK."
The survey revealed:
64% of local residents say they know a lot or a little about natural gas from shale, compared to 53% in October;
50% of respondents said they support continued exploration in the area. In October, the figure was 44%;
50% of respondents said they “strongly support” or “support” continued exploration. 25% said they “strongly oppose” or “oppose” continued exploration;
26% said they “neither support nor oppose” or “don’t know”;
As in the October research, job creation is felt to be the most important of the potential benefits tested, with 32% choosing it as single most important (compared with 25% in October) followed by cheaper energy (22% in December, vs 24% in October).
Asked to rate the single most important disadvantage, 30% of respondents selected risk of earth tremors (no change since October). Risk of water pollution was selected as most important by 26% (up from 22% in October), and risk of gas leaks was selected by 12% (compared to 8% in October).