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The UK government’s latest quarterly public attitudes tracker has dropped the question about how people feel about fracking, just as Cuadrilla Resources is preparing to start hydraulic fracturing in northwest England within two months.
The August 2018 public attitudes tracker—an opinion poll collected and published by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) since 2013—contains only measurements about the public’s awareness and understanding of fracking and shale gas.
In the previous edition of the tracker, in April 2018, the BEIS asked—as it had always done in those polls—whether people support or oppose extracting shale gas. Nearly half of the public neither supported nor opposed it (47 percent), with a further 4 percent saying they did not know whether they supported or opposed it. Three in ten (32%) of respondents were opposed to fracking, compared with two in ten (18%) who supported it.
The UK government hasn’t confirmed whether the change in questions regarding shale gas will be permanent, according to the Guardian.
In May this year, the UK government announced plans to facilitate timely decisions on shale gas exploration planning applications in England as part of a plan to reduce dependence on gas imports amid an ongoing decline in the UK North Sea’s conventional gas production.
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“Perhaps having recently tried to change planning rules so that fracking companies could drill more easily, they were just scared of a record bad survey result for them this time, so have stopped even asking anymore,” Tony Bosworth, a campaigner at Friends of the Earth, told the Guardian, commenting on the dropping of the ‘fracking attitude’ question.
Last month, the same department, BEIS, issued its final hydraulic fracture consent to Cuadrilla for its first horizontal shale gas exploration well at its Preston New Road site in Lancashire. Earlier this month, Cuadrilla submitted an application for fracking in its second shale gas exploration well at the site, and said that it expects to start hydraulic fracturing at Preston New Road within the next two months.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.