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« Shale gas coolness | Main | Debunk alarm - Josh 336 »

Public views of shale gas

James Wilsdon points us to a fascinating paper published by some of his colleagues at SPRU. Laurence Williams et al have conducted a series of focus groups with members of the public in Lancashire to see what they make of fracking. The views exhibited are something to behold.

Participants came from one of a restricted number of groups:

  • allotment holders
  • ex-miners
  • wildlife trust employees
  • mothers of young children
  • industrial history society members
  • parents of university students

We start with a discussion of the technique of fracking, with one participant, apparently representative of many, saying:

The impression is that there hasn’t been enough research done into this. Which makes you wonder just how dangerous it’s going to be?

It is a tribute to the work of the greens that the public could believe such a thing about a technique that has been used for over 50 years. I was similarly bemused the member of the mothers group who wondered why nobody had been told that an unconventional oil and gas industry might be about to take off in the UK.

Remarkably, almost nobody seems to have thought that a new industry in their area would bring any benefits at all. Indeed many saw reference to benefits as an attempt to "sell them something". The view among many participants seems to have been that the gas would mean higher profits for energy companies and nothing else. No doubt they would feel more comfortable with loss-making employers operating in their neighbourhoods, or better still a desert.

There's much more in this vein - discussion of the risks and so on -  and it makes for interesting, if rather depressing, reading.

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Reader Comments (43)

It is a measure of how effective the BBC's views are disseminated throughout the land.

"Our mission - To enrich people's lives with programmes and services that inform, educate and entertain.
Our values - Trust is the foundation of the BBC: we are independent, impartial and honest.

If only!

Jul 14, 2015 at 9:58 AM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

It's a very depressing read. When watching TV we're often appalled by how poorly educated/informed most of the British populace are. On the other hand it is an interesting choice of groups.

Jul 14, 2015 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

Could an opinion poll ask a simple question like "How much extra are you prepared to pay for electricity, if you can only use it when the sun is shining or it is windy?"

Greens seem to like loaded questions, yet they don't want this simple one asked. I wonder why?

Jul 14, 2015 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Over a million wells fracked, only a few accidents reported.

Jul 14, 2015 at 10:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

"The view among many participants seems to have been that the gas would mean higher profits for energy companies and nothing else."

Actually this is probably a valid suspicion given the dysfunctional nature of the energy market in the UK.

Jul 14, 2015 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterLiT

It is also a measure of the success of Cameron's "I need you every day man" - Oliver Letwin when he, Samantha Sheffield and Geoffrey Lean ensured that Shale Gas exploration was set back by so many years.

Jul 14, 2015 at 10:49 AM | Unregistered Commentertoad

Musing, on the considerable incomprehension shown by many participants, this is hardly surprising.

The idea that, hydraulic fracturing is somehow a new and untried technology was seeded by the green propaganda salesmen. The beeb, has been at the forefront of it, on local radio, TV and national broadcasting but pester power plays a not insignificant role. Pester power, where kids are also taught this green pap in schools so that parents who may be a little lacking in their grey matter allotment may defer to their youngster's 'expertise', "teacher knows more about it than I do" and how wrong can you be?

The assault tactics of the incessant green propaganda machine has produced a collective cowed inertia. With a population who subconsciously imbibe this constant and woeful green propaganda and because through lack of time, inclination, gullibility, they cannot be bothered to read up and arm themselves with the facts. Next, people are then wary of challenging the received consensus. Politicians thrive through the promulgation of ignorance, local councils, government officials and worst the Green Stasi of Greenpiss et al - use it [ignorance] as a weapon. A few local nimbys and bob's your uncle, the local Conservative association become the guvmint sock puppets and with their kids on the picket line - joining with swampy and the SWP/UAF/Greenpeace - what a stink it all is.

A social and philosophical thought, what ever happened to the British bulldog spirit and the notional idea of, "for the common good"? I have long averred, that, TPTB like it, design it thus, when the people are divided and set one pitched against another; womens pay in the papers today - 'the battle of the sexes', north versus south, Scotland v England, haves and have nots, old and young, property owning and the renters, Europhiles and Europhobes, left and right - divided we will be and that suits the elite and by extension Brussels - rather too well.

Fracking, just another battle that is being lost.

Jul 14, 2015 at 10:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

This is what you get when you have a dumbed-down education system, the BBC as a propaganda machine and a populace that is more concerned about trivia.

Jul 14, 2015 at 11:06 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

The opposition to fracking isn't just due to ignorance. The cynicism over the benefits of fracking is well justified. The energy companies are overly powerful subjects who have no need to care for the customers. Sort out the inequality in society and there will be more acceptance of innovation.

However, some of the quotes indicated delusional conspiracy thinking:

Charlie: I question the actual end reason for it anyway, which is just more CO2 emissions. It’s just, like, you’re going down a road which is just a stupid thing to go down.
(Focus group 3: History society members)

You can't deal with that. It's just crazy. The end reason is the energy not the emissions.

However, this was perceptive:

In response to the claim also made in the Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering (2012) report, that expected seismicity would likely be equal to or lower in magnitude than historical seismicity experienced in the UK due to coal mining, the mothers (Group 2) and history society members (Group 3) reflected that ‘social acceptability’ may well have shifted in the interim.

Unfortunately the History Society returned to form with:

The history society members (Group 3) rejected the argument that a precautionary approach may result in a missed opportunity by dismissing the argument as ‘just another way of selling it to us’, ...
The Precautionary Principle can always be reversed, emphasising the costs that were missed, if you want to sell something. That's just close-mindedness.
...while the parents (Group 6) responded to the same point by suggesting ‘you don’t have to take an opportunity, do you? It’s a choice’..
Some people deserve to be poor with unemployed children. You've got to take the chances that are given you.

Show the benefits will come to the local community and report the history of fracking (compare it to novelties like solar panels) and then you may get an industry. The focus groups did have some valid reasons for rejecting fracking. Namely that they shouldn't accept any risk if the benefits will not come to them.

Jul 14, 2015 at 11:09 AM | Registered CommenterM Courtney

Industry and fossil fuel companies have had a policy of keeping their heads down and just negotiating with government (local or national). They only engage with the public as a way to improve their standing above their competitors. They play along with the soft, fluffy greenwash as a PR exercise. This means that the public are largely unaware of business as an essential part of their society. They might benefit from lower prices from the competitive nature of business but they don't associate those gains with attendant disadvantages of having industry in their midst. This research illustrates that.

Almost all the benefits of fracking are national. Few locals would gain from having a drilling operation on their doorstep. This is not America. Distances and mineral rights make this a very different place. The benefits would be at the refinery and at a national level of pricing. Sure, the locals will gain from that but not in a way they can balance with the detrimental effect of having some industry in their direct vicinity. They might benefit in terms of reduced costs at a council level but will that translate into anything tangible? Would any reduction in council tax be swallowed by inflation? Will the local council pass the money back to the public or will they use it for some pet project? The risks on the other hand are local.

Unless industry and government do more to raise awareness of the national benefits of industry, then few will take the view that they need to shoulder a local burden. Up to now, neither government nor industry has felt it that important to bring the public along with decision making. This is increasingly short sighted as the public become more powerful. In the past it was hard to be heard but with the rise of the internet, people can be as influential as politicians or business leaders. By completely ceding the public forum to greens and other special interest groups, they have lost the debate before they even have plans for some new development.

If the public want the rewards of an industrious society we need to be aware of and accept the disadvantages. This means not embracing eco dogma or allowing green PR pieces like that LSE paper stand unchallenged. In Greece we have a very clear example of what happens to a society when everyone takes stuff out of the national pot but few people put in. Time for industry to stop hiding and hope the public won’t notice you. Time to remind the public what built our wealthy country in the first place.

Jul 14, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

The UK public has voted with its wallets for cut price supermarkets, banking, car insurance, holidays etc. Some banks and supermarkets have got themselves into trouble for trying to maximise profits and bonuses in the face of competition, hopefully some executives may yet be entertained at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

Her Majesty's Government still has price rigging powers in force, designed to distort market forces, and uncompetitive practices, yet there is no sign that power supplied will be cheaper or provide any benefit to anyone but a select wealthy few.

Opinion pollsters do very nicely out of writing biased questions to get the answers required by their paymasters. They have not improved since the UK election disasters they all suffered.

Jul 14, 2015 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

... a technique that has been used for over 50 years.

A bit of an understatement, your grace, if I may be so bold.

According to this article it was first demonstrated by Col Edward AL Roberts in 1865. He made his money by claiming a percentage of the increased oil flow after his process, which involved nitro glycerine, had been carried out.

Jul 14, 2015 at 11:47 AM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

There seems to be the belief that profit is evil.

That profit grows the economy one way or another.

The money is either invested or spent even if it ends up in the pockets of the fat cats.

The new Rolls has to be paid for somehow. And people have to build it, for wages.

Jul 14, 2015 at 11:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterClovis Marcus

When the central heating doesn't work and the lights go out and they can't travel and there are riots and looting, then maybe people will realise there are lots of benefits to cheap fossil fuels. In the meantime they have their heads in the sand.

Jul 14, 2015 at 11:56 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Phillip Bratby, they won't connect the problems to their decisions.

Jul 14, 2015 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

In the interest of fairness and transparency about opinion pollsters, can we assume that these people were selected from the Green Blob?

Were they life long supporters of Marks and Spencers and Waitrose, or were they Born Again Aldi/Lidl bargain hunters?

Did the Mothers of young children all use washable nappies for their children, or the buy the best value/convenient disposables?

Were any of them asked whether people should keep dying because Green Blob Environmentalists don't want them to have reliable power, water, food and medical assistance? Do such deaths make them feel better about themselves?

Couldn't Comic Relief do a special fundraising feature on Green Blob measures to ensure high death tolls amongst the poor?

Jul 14, 2015 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

It is abundantly clear that the BBC in particular has been successful in skewing perceptions of enhanced gas recovery. I have been stunned at some people who really, really should know better parroting the blob line - but in their defence - it's all they have been hearing. It is, I think - a feature of confidence tricks that the victims experience a denial phase....

As to the investigators they look like an opportunistic bunch of jobsworths looking to suck up available funding

The conclusions bear some reading and re-reading - they cite Harrabin FFS....

The final bit of the final conclusion paragraph:

We would argue, therefore, that further research needs to study the relationship between public understandings and institutional behaviour and decision-making processes, including the ability or willingness of governing institutions to recognise, encounter and accommodate multiple and diverse public values and meanings.

Oxygen thieves.

@cheshirered - yes - gas company PR has been absolutely woeful and the majors for the most part view the growth of enhanced gas recovery as disruptive. That said the stranglehold of the blob has been very, very effective.

Jul 14, 2015 at 12:31 PM | Registered Commentertomo

If the negative message from the Greens has overwhelmed the positive message from the history and benefits of fracking then that is the fault of the would-be frackers and nobody else.

It's a failure to communicate, nothing less. Cuadrilla should hire a new PR firm without delay.

Jul 14, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered

Sadly there is a fairly common view that development in general and many activities in particular are completely unacceptable anywhere. We as a society are talking ourselves into a new impoverishment; there does not seem to be any understanding of the national interest. People do seem to think that money grows on trees. Ignorance, complacency and NIMBYism is widespread. We rarely get a robust defence of progress from any of our political leaders. I fear that many do not understand the issues or are so cynical in their outlook that they decide not to care, it is too risky to their careers to speak out.

At the same time as we get such dangerous thinking, we get the likes of Marxist Ed Miliband and Jeremy Corbyn continuing to put it about that government money should be used to support old loss-making industries on the basis that such money will come back in the form of tax income from the additional spending in the locality the support provides; suggesting that there is a form of 'profit' in the process and state spending is a thus a creator of wealth and prosperity.

Jul 14, 2015 at 12:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterCull the Badgers

@Cull the Badgers

"Sadly there is a fairly common view that development in general and many activities in particular are completely unacceptable anywhere."

Well ... yes ... and NO when it comes to eco-nuttery which seeks every time to defuse criticism by invoking noble purpose.... whilst simultaneously avoiding pragmatic analysis....

Jul 14, 2015 at 12:58 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Jul 14, 2015 at 10:45 AM by LiT
Jul 14, 2015 at 11:09 AM by M Courtney

Governments or, rather, the EU elite are the most powerful, adding 'invisible' green taxes to customer bills and not letting profitable investment pay for the dud investment by introducing new taxes on North Sea investment. That is how the oil industry works: profitable investment pays for the dud investment. And what about Ed Miliband's offer to freeze prices keeping prices high, even when world oil prices were falling. Idiot: as bad as Brown selling off our gold! And then we have Drax, being converted to an idiotic system because of government grants and subsidies. Our energy companies need to be able to plan, but Government think billions of investments can be turned on and off like a tap.

The EU can also add to costs while reducing safety:
Proposed EU Regulation of Offshore Safety

The oil majors are not what they used to be, with less than 5% of the world market and reserves, with National Oil Corporations taking over the market, usually run by non-business aware Socialists, though usually not as bad as the way Venezuela is being run today!

Jul 14, 2015 at 11:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2
"Industry and fossil fuel companies have had a policy of keeping their heads down and just negotiating with government (local or national)."

... because governments ARE the most powerful, and what they say goes, even if it is ridiculous! The corporate EU wants a European oil market, for 'ever closer union', so British customers are well down the pecking order, and remember, Greece has some very juicy potential oil fields, so no wonder Germany won't let their debt be forgiven.

When people think carrots come from the supermarket, and not out of the ground, what hope does the energy industry have?

Jul 14, 2015 at 1:00 PM | Registered CommenterRobert Christopher

When people think carrots come from the supermarket, and not out of the ground, what hope does the energy industry have?


and electricity comes from the light switch.

Jul 14, 2015 at 1:19 PM | Registered Commentertomo

" There seems to be the belief that profit is evil."

Apple seem to cope with their massive profits being read out routinely together with having huge amounts of cash on them.

Jul 14, 2015 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRob Burton

"because governments ARE the most powerful, and what they say goes, even if it is ridiculous!" Robert Christopher.

Yes and no. They often do have the last word but their opinions are coloured by the same things as the public. The BBC will be whispering into government minds as often as they do into ours. If they hear the people clamouring for green power, they're inclined to believe that's what people want. Look how surprised the Conservative were at being voted in on a policy of austerity. It's a testiment to the wisdom of the public, not the Tory ability to persuade them. The media convinced the Tories and Labour that the public wanted more of what got us into trouble in the first place. Spending and borrowing. How much harder is it to persuade the government we all want to ditch fossil fuels and go green? Not hard at all, especially as there are almost no countering voices. Sure, industries lobby but since few politicians have any connections to business any more, why would they listen to lobbyists? After all, they're paid to support their cause... or so the likes of Oreskes would have us think.

Jul 14, 2015 at 1:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

Most people like to eat meat, but few enjoy thinking about a slaughterhouse. NIMBYs and NODAMs are hardly new.

Liberal arts-based 'Cider with Rosie' anti-industrialism is deeply ingrained in British culture and the BBC, and has been all my life. I still recall a work colleague reporting comments from a German customer of a company I worked for in 1980s/'90s:
"We Germans want to make things, you British just want to sell each other houses.

Jul 14, 2015 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Hey, I am in favor of banning fracking in the UK. It keeps the oil supply down, and maybe my royalty checks from fracking in the US will go up instead of down.

Jul 14, 2015 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimB

M Courtney"

"Some people deserve to be poor with unemployed children. You've got to take the chances that are given you."


"The focus groups did have some valid reasons for rejecting fracking. Namely that they shouldn't accept any risk if the benefits will not come to them."

Excellent comments.

Jul 14, 2015 at 3:44 PM | Unregistered Commentertimg56

Framing ‘fracking’: Exploring
public perceptions of (the controversial process of) hydraulic
fracturing in the United Kingdom.

The BBC re-titles the paper in order that it is suitable for broadcasting.

Jul 14, 2015 at 4:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

It's a failure to communicate, nothing less. Cuadrilla should hire a new PR firm without delay.

How do you compete when your opposition runs a £5bn green publicity channel with radio, TV and internet broadcasts, and your turnover is a few £10ms? Even if you manage to go viral with some yellow bikinis, they'll up the disapproval ratings as fast as they can, and redouble the negative propaganda.

Are you fracking fit? The BBC wants you fracking frit.

Jul 14, 2015 at 5:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

- SPRU is based in BRIGHTON green-loony central
- They chose the Guardian as the place to launch their fracking opinion research 1year ago
- 1000 green fantasies on their blog page eg "that during the weekend before, 8% of the UK’s electricity generation had come from solar"
... they mean not 48 hours but rather 7.8% of daytime electricity, on 21 June 2014 estimated by the solar trade association.
- on their About us "The aim of our research is to identify ways of achieving the transition to sustainable, low carbon energy systems ... core partner in the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research..."
- Their latest Facebook post " the government's radical decision to scrap the UK zero carbon homes target .. how this major setback will affect the UK's low-carbon future. "
- some might suspect bias.

Jul 14, 2015 at 6:30 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Jul 14, 2015 at 5:19 PM | It doesn't add up...

Indeed. Nobody said it would be easy, especially taking on the Green Blob, but that's the challenge. Bear in mind Cuadrilla do have the facts on their side.

Jul 14, 2015 at 6:59 PM | Unregistered Commentercheshirered


good spot on SPRU provenance and antics. It emphasises the courtesans partisans starting point for the bevy of beauties that contrived this convenient analysis - no doubt on a pro bono basis </sarc>

The way this stuff is contrived is utterly shameless.

Jul 14, 2015 at 7:01 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Unfortunately people have had such a long period of peace and affluence that they have completely lost touch with the very things that make their lives so incredibly wonderful. Instead of being appreciative and understanding, they have become ignorant, deserving, and living in some sort of fantasy world. I see this phenomenon everywhere in the affluent west, and it only becomes worse with increasing urbanization.

Jul 14, 2015 at 8:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterRobert

The trouble is that no one really knows enough about fracking in the UK to have an informed opinion.

Until one or two boreholes are drilled and fracked in each of the main basins, we have no reliable knowledge of how much shale gas may be recoverable and at what cost. Nor do we know how significant the potential environmental risks will really be.

With the economically recoverable North Sea oil and our recoverable coal largely gone and with renewables and nuclear looking likely to remain impossibly unreliable and expensive, we face long term dependence on imports from places like Saudi or Russia. If there is any way of avoiding it, we cannot leave our grandchildren this legacy.

The US removed this risk and will prosper because of shale gas. The UK may be able to do the same and if it can it. should.

Government should insist on a number of boreholes being drilled and fracked. To allay fears of the future consequences of such a programme, it should guarantee a thorough review based on the facts before any licensing any further drilling or extraction.

Jul 14, 2015 at 9:53 PM | Unregistered Commenterdave

Here's Cuadrilla's YouTube channel:

The number of views of most of their stuff is pitiful. James Verdon's excellent Frackland blog probably does little better, yet it has enough material to provide an excellent informative programme or three, given an imaginative producer and a good presenter.

Jul 14, 2015 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

It doesn't add up...

as a miniscule contributor to Frack Nation I agree.

I have deep reservations about the distribution - as Phelim and the crew discovered - it's not a given....

Any effort will get attacked - and that's to be expected - finding a relatively prominent talking head is probably pivotal since that will get some attention in and of itself. Anybody taking that task on will have to be prepared for some rough tactics from the blobbies.

A crowd funded effort might be fun though - since it's bound to attract some name calling and spitting from the usual suspects....

Jul 14, 2015 at 11:16 PM | Unregistered Commentertomo


I feel that your assertions about the technique are a slightly wide of the mark. We know considerably more about what is involved than the BBC, FoE, Greenpiece, FrackFree Village of the Month and many (though *not* all) at The Environment Agency and DECC would be prepared to actually admit in public.

Drilling down to the production zone is entirely conventional drilling - done millions of times with a low incidence of failures. The actual frack itself is individual geology dependent - but since the zone of interest is a considerable distance below any aquifer and the mechanics of the process are inherently self limiting - very high confidence is there that contamination issues down-hole directly consequent from the actual gas flow enhancement process are nigh on insignificant. Earthquakes are a joke.

Techniques for controlling drilling fluids and any backflow are well understood and generate waste which is easily dealt with by conventional means and can effectively treated if required to existing standards...

This does NOT mean that it's risk free and is guaranteed to work! It means that it is a common-or garden industry practice that any sane operator wants to work - with minimum impact to their neighbours. The risks are arguably almost indistinguishable from a standard drilling operation. As with Balcombe - the eco-boobys don't care about fracking per se - they want to stop ALL fossil fuel exploration + production - by any means to hand. You might have noticed that as each nutty claim is dealt with there's a fallback.... too many trucks, the rig is the wrong colour and clashes with the surrounding vegetation at the licenced time of year - on and on....

Other players in the anti game have considerable vested interest in disrupting progress for a variety of reasons which are not difficult to identify - Qatar, Venezuela & Russia being up there - it's disruptive to the established operators too... What might well knacker it is the reputed tidal wave of cheap Iranian oil that's on the way - at least until they finally kick off with the Saudis / UAE etc. just on the other side of the Gulf

Jul 14, 2015 at 11:47 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Just about everybody who opposes fracking also opposes welfare cuts. Yet UK oil and gas production is taxed to an extent to which imported hydrocarbon production isn't. How many state schools and hospitals do the anti-frackers want to close?

Norway is often held up as the country having the finest welfare benefits. Yet Norway has one of the highest oil production ratios per head of population in the world.

Just tell the anti-frackers they are doing what the Tories really want, so they can justify selling off the welfare state. That should do the trick.

Jul 15, 2015 at 8:46 AM | Unregistered Commenterrotationalfinestructure

Hey It is not NEW SPRU Research, it's a rehash of older research from Durhram U in 2013
..Whilst I searched for other focus group projects i find this one from Durham University published in Jan 2014 WILLIAMS, LAURENCE,JOHN (2014) Framing Fracking: Public responses to potential unconventional fossil fuel exploitation in the North of England. Masters thesis
and when I check the new paper I can see that it's the same data and none comes from after September 2013.

page 84-85 gives an indication of engineer type support
"Many participants often spoke for the relative merits of domestic unconventionals, with energy security, domestic production, and shorter transport distances seen as their main benefits. However, on balance, the majority of those who were willing
to accept unconventionals as a good response to any looming energy ‘crisis’ were only able
to do so because abstract and global environmental discourse left them feeling alienated.
On the other hand those that were persuaded by environmental politics...."
- Does he mean they feel alienated by the domination by GreenReligion calling them deniers ?
- What's he mean by \\looming energy ‘crisis’// ?

I've seen that paragraph before from 16 Dec 2013 Durham U magazine which is a summary of the focus group research ... "Many participants spoke for the relative merits of shale gas, with energy security and the apparently self-evident logics of more general domestic production often highlighted. However, for the majority this resulted from a feeling of alienation generated by abstract and global environmental discourse. On the other hand....."

Jul 15, 2015 at 9:26 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

stew - that simply redoubles my contempt for the authors .... not that they give a fig about what 'lil old me thinks - but it's now even clearer that this is an exercise in lazy propagandising that these people should be ashamed to have their names attached to - even for a fat fee.....

Jul 15, 2015 at 11:24 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Bottomline the POSITIVE phrase is in the old report, but NOT the new one based on the same data !
""Many participants OFTEN spoke for the relative merits of domestic unconventionals, with energy security, domestic production, and shorter transport distances seen as their main benefits. "
..see that word "often" wasn'tjust an odd comment. the change "sexing up" ?m

@Tomo Context and Perspective are everything
It's quite important that the interviews were conducted more than 2 years ago now.. Issues move fast and there has been election since then
- It is relevant that it was Laurence Williams masters thesis work published at the the end of 2013
and that he then moved to SPRU and has taken the same data and made this 2015 paper.
- The context is also that Universities and SPRU Brighton in particular are hotbeds in greenism.
.. The thing is they are likely to be involved in Green energy research projects so hava bias towards them
That same Durham department had quite a few research programmes about Photovoltaics, Geo-Energy, Nuclear Energy, Biofuels, Energy Storage for Low Carbon Grids, Green Growth Diagnostics for Africa, Smarter Grid etc whereas they don't have any research about developing fracking.

- I note there is another new report Framing Fracking: Which Frames Are Heard in English Planning and Environmental Policy and Practice? by Chris Hilson (registration reqd)

Jul 15, 2015 at 12:45 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

What is the public's opinion on fracking ?
Certainly not robustly opposed nor robustly supporting..various results have been obtained
Does it he public's opinion matter that much ? Informing them is good. But if you give people vetos they'll aways vote against change, you'd never get anything done, yet the same people then have a different one after it's started
.. or if the questions are framed properly. eg Of the last 10 years of US shale which successful projects should taken down ?

- We know Guido reported Greenpeace had to hide their poll results earlier this year
"Hoping to demonstrate that pro-fracking parliamentary candidates could lose their seats, the far-left pressure group commissioned Com Res to survey the British public’s attitude towards hydraulic fracturing. The results? 65% of the Great British Public ARE NOT opposed to fracking. "
- OK Guido is being tricky he added the 43% who would vote for a pro fracking guy to the 22% don't knows vs the 35% against...note the question"vote for a pro fracking guy "

- In January YouGov poll for the Sunday Times - support for shale gas at 35% and opposition at 41.
- February’s DECC attitudes survey found only 24% of the UK public support shale gas extraction."
.. however that is also spin cos DECC stress NO/Yes are about the same but the don't knows are much larger at 44%
The DECC poll is not a very good polling system says the expert
I reckon, they must be using skewed questions to get things like "Solar sees 81% in favour" ..most people know they are paying a subsidy for their neighbours panels.
- A 2013 report from Nottingham Uni spoke of continuing growth in fracking support due to cheap fuel perception.

Jul 16, 2015 at 2:19 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Bish's comment i
"Remarkably, almost nobody seems to have thought that a new industry in their area would bring any benefits at all. "
is contradicted by an earlier report SAME data, SAME author
- A POSITIVE phrase is in the old report, but NOT the new one based on the same data !
"Many participants OFTEN spoke for the relative merits of domestic unconventionals, with energy security, domestic production, and shorter transport distances seen as their main benefits. "pg 84-85 Jan 2014
..see that word "often" wasn't just an odd comment. the change "sexing up" ?

Jul 16, 2015 at 2:26 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

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