Natural gas production from shale enjoys widespread backing across the UK, with more than three times as many supporting production as opposing, according to a new survey.
There is overwhelming support for reducing Britain’s reliance on gas imports from overseas, it found.
The findings come just as a protest is due to take place today over potential fracking in Co Fermanagh.
At 7pm protestors will hold what is described as an “ecumenical service” at Belcoo, with bands from Letterbreen and Florencecourt.
The survey findings give a boost to controversial proposals for commercial fracking and were carried out by Populus, commissioned by UK Onshore Oil and Gas (UKOOG), which is the trade association representing the UK’s onshore oil and gas industry.
The study of 4,000 adults found that 57 per cent of people support the production of natural gas from shale in the UK, compared with 16 per cent who oppose and 27 per cent who are undecided.
More than two-thirds agree that Britain needs to produce its own energy so it is not reliant on gas from other countries.
Nearly three-fifths would be willing to see natural gas from shale production go ahead as long as it forms part of a mix that includes renewable energy sources.
UKOOG’s Ken Cronin said: “More than four out of five of us heat our homes with gas, and Britain’s shale resource gives us the opportunity to become less dependent on foreign energy supplies, create tens of thousands of jobs and support our manufacturing industries.”
A Greenpeace spokesman said: “Surely it’s no coincidence that the only survey out there showing this level of public support for fracking has been commissioned by the industry lobby.”