The controversial issue of shale gas exploration in some of the country’s most precious landscapes forced ministers in July to claim they were tightening planning guidance on drilling in national parks, but a new poll for the Guardian shows the public has been unmoved by the assurances.
The poll, conducted by Panelbase, shows 60% of people think fracking should not be allowed in national parks, compared to 22% that do. It also shows rejection of another controversial move by ministers, who plan to change trespass laws to prevent people blocking fracking underneath their own land.
Over 70% of UK people disagree with the law change, with only 17% in favour. Even among the group describing themselves as in favour of fracking, 62% disagreed with removing the ability to block fracking under their homes.
Ministers have made large areas of the country available for shale gas licences, including 10 of the UK’s 13 national parks.
“The results of this poll are loud and clear: the public is against fracking in national parks,” said Nick Clack, senior energy campaigner at the Campaign to Protect Rural England. “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.”