The fresh poll of 500 Lancashire residents released today shows nearly two thirds (63%) are in favour of a fracking ban, with an even stronger majority (69%) saying more time should be allowed for a public debate to take place before planning authorities decide on drilling licences.
The Redshift Research survey for Greenpeace UK also strongly suggests fracking may play a significant role in the 2015 election race. The results show local voters are three times more likely to back an anti-fracking candidate (45%) than a pro-shale one (14%), indicating that those against shale drilling are more willing to make this an election issue than those in favour of it.
A majority of respondents (56%) have also said they are against allowing energy companies to frack in the county, with nearly two thirds (63%) saying they are concerned about fracking being given the go-ahead.
The findings are a direct challenge to claims by the fracking industry that there is ‘a clear silent majority in Lancashire that supports locally sourced natural gas.’ 
The survey comes after a series of scientific studies recently highlighted the many risks posed by fracking, from groundwater contamination from leaky wells  to the release of harmful airborne chemicals close to fracking sites  and the industry’s contribution to increased carbon emissions .
More recently, UK government-funded energy experts at the UK Energy Research Centre warned ministers that they have ‘oversold’ the benefits of shale gas, as it won’t have a significant impact on bills or Britain’s energy security any time soon. 
The Lancashire County Council planning committee is due to decide on applications by energy firm Cuadrilla to frack at two sites in the county between December and January. 
Commenting on the findings, Greenpeace UK energy campaigner Simon Clydesdale said:
“The response to this survey is a vote of no-confidence for the fracking industry. They have tried to drown out people’s legitimate concerns in a barrage of propaganda and spin but have comprehensively failed.
“Hardly a week goes by without a new scientific study warning of the damaging impact of fracking on our environment, from groundwater contamination, to air pollution and climate-harming emissions. The people of Lancashire are rightly concerned about their county being used as a testing lab for an inexperienced industry that demands a lot from local people and may deliver little or nothing in return.
“Politicians should listen to local people’s concerns and resist the shale industry’s attempt to hustle them into taking a reckless gamble with the future of their communities.”
Contacts: (on Monday) Stefano Gelmini, on 07506 512442, (on Tuesday) Simon Clydesdale, on +44 (0)7989 034 113
The survey was conducted among 502 people in Lancashire. The interviews were conducted online by Redshift Research in October 2014 using an email invitation and an online survey. The full survey results are available here (Microsoft Excel file).