Public support for shale gas extraction – AKA fracking – is now at its lowest ever level, according to an official government survey.
The Business and Energy Department's poll found just 16 per cent of British people now support fracking, a decrease from 21 per cent from last year. A full third of people say they are opposed to fracking.
The poll also revealed that 48 per cent of the UK public neither support nor oppose fracking and a further three per cent said they didn't know. Analysis of wider results suggests that this stems from not knowing enough about it to have an opinion.
Of those opposed to fracking, the most common reason was cited as 'the loss or destruction of natural environment' at 68 per cent, an increase from 56 per cent.
Environmental group Friends of the Earth released a statement on the findings, noting that they follow its own poll in Lancashire where 66 per cent of people oppose fracking in their area.
"This makes bad reading for the industry because they know they are desperately fighting an unwinnable battle for support," says Rose Dickinson, Friends of the Earth Campaigner.
"The extent to which this industry has failed to win over the public is undeniable, opposition is increasing not only where fracking is proposed, but across the whole country."
The government poll – officially called the BEIS Energy and Climate Change Public Attitude Tracker – also found that support remains high for renewable energy at 77 per cent, with opposition very low at four per cent. Only one per cent of respondents were strongly opposed to renewables.