LONDON — The United Kingdom plastics industry may be behind for fracking as a means of sourcing new energy reserves but its enthusiasm is not shared by the public, according to a new poll.
Research conducted for the Guardian newspaper found a majority of the public believed the controversial method of extracting shale gas reserves ought to be completely banned from the country's national parks.
A survey conducted by Panelbase found 60 percent of people against fracking in national parks, with 22 percent in favor.
The survey also found that nearly three quarters of people were against government proposals to change trespass laws to stop residents from blocking fracking under their land.
Only 17 percent were in favor of the government's plans.
Nick Clack, senior energy campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England, said the poll results pointed to one conclusion: “The public is against fracking in national parks.
“We believe this opposition extends to other protected areas. The government must listen to such a strong message from voters and ensure that drilling for oil and gas does not take place in these areas.
“Given the huge uncertainties that still surround fracking, we need great caution and the highest possible safeguards if fracking is to go ahead anywhere,” he told the Guardian.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Energy and Climate Change said that only in “exceptional circumstances and where this is a clear case that this is in the public interest” would an application to frack in a national park receive local authority clearance.
“This builds on existing rules and a robust regulatory framework that we already have in place. Ultimately, done right, speeding up shale will mean more jobs and opportunities for people and help ensure long-term economic and energy security for our country,” she added.
A recent poll published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change showed falling support for shale gas extraction, down to 24 percent of respondents in August, vs. 29 percent in March this year.
Meanwhile members of the South Downs National Park Authority's Planning Committee are being recommended to refuse planning permission for exploratory drilling and appraisal for oil and gas in the park at a meeting next week.