University of Nottingham

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FrackWell.png This article is part of the Spinwatch Fracking Portal and project

Research on public opinion about fracking

In August 2013 a report by experts Nottingham concluded that 'the British public is beginning to warm to the idea of shale gas'.

The research team, led by Professor Sarah O'Hara, School of Geography, and Professor Mathew Humphrey, School of Politics and International Relations, carried out regular surveys over a 16-month period to look at people’s perceptions of shale gas.

Their results show that despite warnings about earthquakes, water contamination, and increasing carbon emissions, the UK public increasingly approve of the exploitation of shale gas as an energy source.


This doesn’t mean shale gas is a wildly popular alternative to other forms of energy but opinion appears to be shifting. [1]

However by October 2013 further research by the University revealed that these gains in public support had reversed in the aftermath of the UK’s first significant protest against the use of hydraulic fracturing (or fracking) at Balcombe in Sussex.

While a majority still favoured allowing extraction, the figures had declined between July and September, from 58.3 per cent to 54.1 per cent of those polled. [2]

Presentation to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Unconventional Oil and Gas

Research funding

The research was funded by The University of Nottingham and carried out in collaboration with Dr Rusi Jaspal, Division of Psychology, School of Applied Social Sciences, De Montfort University Leicester, Professor Brigitte Nerlich, School of Sociology and Social Policy and Ms Marianna Poberezhskaya, School of Politics and International Relations, The University of Nottingham. The surveys were carried on behalf of the research team by YouGov.[1]

YouGov funded the first survey in March 2012.


Julius Gould | Rizwaan Sabir, former Postgraduate student | Colin Campbell - Vice Chancellor until 2008, Sarah O'Hara, Pro-Vice Chancellor, Charlotte Anscombe - Media Relations & Campaign Manager



  1. 1.0 1.1 Warming to shale gas, University of Nottingham press release, acc 5 December 2013
  2. Shale gas loses support following Balcombe protests, University of Nottingham press release 2 October 2013, acc 5 December 2013