- By a margin of 44% to 36%, the public are in favour of lifting the controversial ban on shale gas extraction, a new Savanta ComRes poll has revealed.
- The poll, commissioned by campaign group Net Zero Watch, showed that Conservative voters were most in favour of lifting the temporary ban, with 57% in support.
- 26% of UK adults thought ensuring national security more important for Britain’s energy policy than achieving Net Zero by 2050, with just 16% rating Net Zero as the most important factor.
- 41% of UK adults say that the UK’s Net Zero targets have weakened Britain’s energy security and that they should be reconsidered in light of the events in Ukraine. This compares to only 17% who thought Net Zero had strengthened energy security.
44% of UK adults say the UK should lift the temporary ban on shale gas extraction compared with 36% who want to keep the moratorium. A significant 1 in 5 (20%) British adults do not know.
The results appear to contradict statements by Government ministers such as Lord Goldsmith, who has claimed on Twitter that the technology was overwhelmingly unpopular. Views could be shifting in light of high energy prices and events in Ukraine.
Despite regional concentrations of shale gas reserves, there were very few regional differences in attitudes towards fracking except for the North East, where 56% of adults were in favour of lifting the temporary ban and only 33% were against.
57% of Conservative voters would support an end to the moratorium on shale gas extraction, contradicting a common Westminster view that the technology is unpopular.
With growing concerns over the cost-of-living crisis and soaring electricity bills, UK adults are divided in their support for the average £153 ‘green levy’ charge in energy bills that go to fund energy efficiency measures and subsidise renewable forms for electricity generation.
Just 27% want to see green levies kept on energy bills, whereas 29% would like to see them paid for by general taxation and a further 25% would like to see them scrapped altogether. Unsurprisingly, green levies were more popular with the younger age group with 32% of 18-34s wishing to keep them on energy bills and least popular with over 55s with only 22% in favour.
In light of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Britain’s energy security and preparedness for potential energy crises has been put under the spotlight.
41% of UK adults feel that Net Zero targets have weakened the UK’s energy security and should be reconsidered in light of events in Ukraine, compared with just 17% who feel Net Zero targets have strengthened UK energy security. 15% thought they had made no difference.
Asked about the UK’s energy policy priorities, half (52%) say that affordability to consumers is most important. National security (26%) is 10 percentage points higher than achieving Net Zero by 2050 (16%).
Craig Mackinlay MP, Chair of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group (NZSG), said:
“The cost of living has already become the number one concern to voters, and with the effect of soaring energy bills yet to really hit, these figures show that the government urgently needs to reconsider its stances on Net Zero and the shale gas moratorium.”
Steve Baker MP, who leads the NZSG’s Steering Committee, said:
“We now face soaring energy bills and an imperative for energy security. Technology is not yet able to allow renewables to provide that security so we must look at all the options that are available in the UK. Lifting the moratorium on fracking has more support than the Government realises and is much better than importing LNG from overseas.”
Benny Peiser, Director of Net Zero Watch, said:
“This poll shows that contra all you may have heard from the Westminster bubble, the public can see that Net Zero is harming our energy security and support an end to the pointless ban on shale gas.”
Savanta ComRes interviewed 2,245 UK adults aged 18+ online from 25-27 March 2022. Data were weighted to be demographically representative of UK adults. Full tables are available here.
The Savanta ComRes poll was commissioned by campaign group Net Zero Watch, who work to highlight the serious economic and societal implications of expensive and poorly considered climate and energy policies.
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